This Week in Online Video: PSA-Mania

Generating awareness around a cause through a PSA (public service announcement) can be an excellent way for brands to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility and for organizations to spread their message amongst Internet audiences. This week, we’ve seen a slew of PSAs move into the limelight looking to make a powerful, behavior-changing impact on viewers.

The first comes from Australian advocacy group Cancer Council NSW (New South Wales). It features a rendition of Divinyls’ hit “I Touch Myself” sung by supporters of this Australian rock band’s vocalist Chrissy Amphlett, who died from breast cancer last April.

The video is meant to encourage women to regularly self-examine their breasts for lumps. According to Amphlett’s close friends, her dying wish was that this hit song could become a reminder to women to consistently check for lumps and other signs of breast cancer.

Singers in the PSA include Connie Mitchell, Deborah Conway, Kate Cerebrano, Katie Noonan, Little Pattie, Megan Washington, Olivia Newton-John, Sarah Blasko, Sarah McLeod and Suze DeMarchi. Interviews with each woman are featured on Amphlett’s YouTube channel.

“It is a song that celebrates female sexuality like no other. Like Chrissy, it is bold, brave and brassy,” the group says in its video summary. “It rocked our world. And when Chrissy developed breast cancer, it was a song she wanted to become an anthem for spreading awareness about the importance of touching ourselves for early detection of the disease.”

Note: The end scene may be NSFW.

Two PSAs this week take on the subject of reckless driving. Though neither explicitly show a car wreck, this deadly consequence is implied. Honda and agency RPA deliver their message (don’t text and drive) in a way sure to resonate with young drivers: through a casual, emoji filled text message conversation.

Titled “The Same Old Song,” this PSA from ad agency La Chose for French road safety organization Association Victimes et Citoyens is effective in its simplicity. The spot lacks any related visuals, and instead leans on powerful audio to discourage drunk driving.

This last PSA, in contrast, relies on visual elements to showcase a deadly scenario that may have been prevented with basic first aid knowledge. It comes from St. John Ambulance (the first-aid teaching and awareness organization) in Australia and The Brand Agency in Perth.

Because emotional appeals tend to intensify motivation and the drive to take action, most branded PSAs yank at viewers’ heartstrings. With online video, companies have few restrictions when it comes to storytelling and are thus able to to produce these powerful spots in hopes of influencing consumer decision making for the better.

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