Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Public Service Announcement

Go To

Basic Trope: A government or other organization has An Aesop for the audience.

  • Straight:
    • An anti-smoking campaign ad features a comparison of a diseased lung from smoking and a healthy lung from avoiding smoke, and a long list of the actual ingredients of a cigarette.
    • A workplace safety campaign tells why safety features shouldn't be circumvented.
  • Exaggerated:
    • The anti-smoking campaign shows someone lighting up a cigarette. They then explode.
    • Advertisement:
    • The workplace is a Nightmarish Factory with safety guards the sole line of defense against death, dismemberment, and one happening due to the other.
  • Downplayed:
    • An anti-smoking campaign ad says that while smoking in moderation is okay, it's smoking long term is harmful.
    • A health campaign ad informs viewers that eating fruit instead of candy will make one feel better for the day.
    • A worker is fired for sabotaging the safety features for the sake of efficiency.
  • Justified: The ad producers are trying to motivate the audience, whether by using the Scare 'Em Straight angle, Reverse Psychology, etc.
  • Inverted:
    • The anti-smoking ad shows someone who didn't smoke becoming the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Happily Married with two great kids, winning the gold medal at the Olympics, being crowned in a beauty pageant, etc, all because they don't smoke.
    • Advertisement:
    • The ad shows how to be efficient and safe, safeties or no.
  • Subverted:
    • The ad begins with someone lighting a cigarette and going about his/her day.
    • Nothing happens when the guards are disengaged.
  • Double Subverted:
  • Parodied:
    • The ad is too full of Narm to be taken seriously.
    • The ad imitates a genuine PSA to warn against something harmless or mythological.
  • Zig Zagged: The ad has a Lost Aesop. It message regarding smoking is too confusing to determine its purpose.
  • Averted: No such ads were made.
  • Enforced: See Justified.
  • Lampshaded:
    • "This is your left lung. This is your left lung after 20 years of smoking. Any questions?"
    • "The boss said I could leave early once this is done. It's my daughter's birthday, so I'm going to pick her up from school and take the whole family out for dinner. That's never going to happen, though, because I'm about to have a terrible accident. But really, I should have known better than to try to fix a jam while the machine was still running."
  • Advertisement:
  • Invoked: A government agency or other group is alarmed by an increase in teen smoking.
  • Exploited: Someone makes a (genuine) PSA that promotes his company's product as helping prevent the harm.
  • Defied: The group decides to allocate money towards larger problems, seeing teen smoking as an issue for parents and schools to deal with.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: Like anything else, these can be done well or poorly. The producers must be careful to get their message across in a believable way, otherwise it becomes a Lost Aesop, which is missing the point.
  • Reconstructed: They aren't any more Anvilicious than necessary, and the message is believable (no Compressed Vice or Space Whale Aesop or Can't Get Away with Nuthin' here!) so the audience actually learns something.
  • Played For Laughs:
  • Played For Drama: The ad shows the smoker slowly wasting away, and his/her family and friends dying from exposure to secondhand smoke. At the end, Everybody's Dead, Dave.

Be careful on your way back to Public Service Announcement. The life you save could be your own.