PSA Evaluation


One of the big misperceptions about public service advertising is that PSAs air mostly in "junk time" or in the worst broadcast "dayparts" when viewing levels are minimal. To use the words of a TV public service director who responded to a non-profit executive who complained about poor placement of his PSAs, she responded: "Honey, when you ain't paying for it, it's all good time."

Fortunately for all of us who work in the public service advertising arena, the good news outweighs the bad when it comes to the times of day when most PSAs are used. Using A.C. Nielsen SIGMA data from various campaigns we have distributed for a variety of different organizations, our client campaigns typically receive a majority of their placement in the best dayparts - from the last half of the Early Morning daypart, to the first half of the Late Evening timeframe. As shown by the following graphs, the number of plays that are aired during these dayparts ranges from 50% on the low end to a high of 77% for a campaign we distributed for Volunteers of America. For each of the campaigns represented by the graphs below, the PSAs were distributed to a similar number of broadcast outlets - 1,100 - which is our standard distribution package. All stations in each of these distribution plans regularly use PSAs.

Choose to Save ®

Choose to Save ® was a campaign pertaining to savings education jointly sponsored by the American Savings Education Council, the Social Security Administration and the Savings Bonds Marketing office of the U.S. Treasury. A total of 12 spots were included in the package in various spot lengths and the objective was to encourage Americans to increase their personal savings rate and develop a fiscally sound retirement plan.

EM = Early Morning: 5AM-9AM
DT = Daytime: 9AM-4PM
EF = Early Fringe: 4PM-8PM
PT = Prime Time: 8PM-10PM
LE = Late Evening: 10PM-1AM
LN = Late Night: 1AM-5AM

Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. It is the largest wish-granting organization in the world with 80 chapters in the U.S. and it has 22 international affiliates on five continents.The objective of the campaign was to create greater general awareness of the organization, build credibility for its mission and refer viewers to its website.

Peace Corps

For more than 40 years, Peace Corps Volunteers have been serving overseas and creating bonds with the people of 135 countries. Volunteers are making a difference in the Americas, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific. At the invitation of each host country, they work in education, small business development, the environment, health and agriculture. The primary objective of Peace Corps PSAs is to recruit qualified applicants, drive traffic to their website and communicate program information to qualified applicants.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development

For 30 years, CCHD has empowered people to rise out of poverty through programs that foster self-sufficiency. Through private donations and annual parish collections, CCHD has offered more than $250 million in support to nearly 4,000 self-help projects developed by grassroots groups of poor people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Grants are awarded on the basis of need, not religious affiliation.

The objective of the "Poverty USA" TV PSA was to communicate the extent of the poverty problem in America and communicate the part that viewers can play in reducing poverty in our country.

Social Security Administration

Social Security protects more than 154 million workers and pays benefits to more than 44 million people. As part of its primary mission SSA sends Social Security Statements to almost 135 million workers over the age of 25, who are not already receiving Social Security benefits. The Statement provides individual estimates of future Social Security benefits, along with a clear message that Social Security is only the foundation of a comfortable retirement. The only way to ensure a comfortable retirement is to save. That was the central message in the TV PSA titled: "Quiz Show" which is a take-off on the popular game show, "Millionaire."

The objective of the PSA is to inform the American public that they should not be totally dependent upon Social Security, but it is a key part of a sound, well-balanced retirement plan.

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

The RSVP program is part of the National Senior Service Corps, managed by the Corporation for National Service. RSVP asks adults 55 and older to put their skills and life experience to work volunteering in their local communities. These volunteers serve in an array of settings that range from hospitals and youth recreational centers to local police stations and educational facilities. In a single year, RSVP volunteers serve in over 63,000 non-profit organizations, tutor more than 100,000 students, provide health care services to over five million people, conduct more than 700,000 safety patrols and provide support services at senior centers serving more than 13 million senior citizens. The objective of the campaign was to recruit volunteers, communicate the virtues of community service and encourage increased visitations to the organization's website.

Volunteers of America

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, spiritually based organization providing local human service programs, and opportunities for individual and community involvement. For 105 years, the organization has reached out and uplifted people in need including children, the homeless, and the elderly.

Every year more than 1.35 million children are homeless and the effects on them are cumulative. As infants, homeless children have the same opportunities in life as other children in America. But as they grow older, children are increasingly harmed by the devastating experiences of homelessness. In response to the growing crisis of homeless children and families, Volunteers of America, in partnership with other national advocacy, research and homeless service providers, developed a comprehensive policy agenda addressing housing, health, education and coordination of essential community services. The objective of the Volunteers of America TV PSAs is to bring the plight of underserved populations to the attention of the American public, raise awareness and funds to meet its critical mission and publicize its website.

(Updated 3.18.14)