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Repeating Ad / Public Service Announcement

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Many broadcasters are required by the government to air a certain amount of public service announcements each day. For television stations, this means that they have to find a way to fit them into their commercial breaks to meet the requirement. A common way to do so is by repeating certain public service announcements. Here are a few examples of this practice:

  • Since broadcasters often want to reserve more heavily populated timeslots for paying advertisers, these often end up in the middle of the night. Due to the small number of public service announcements that are provided, however, the same advertisement about how orphanages need more bodies shoveled into them will often appear back to back with itself through an entire commercial break.
  • Following the 2011 earthquake-tsunami-meltdown in Japan, advertisers quickly pulled all their ads to avoid appearing crass during a national emergency. This left stations with nothing but a small handful of PSA messages to run during breaks, so all of eastern Japan ended up seeing the same half-dozen ads, all day long, for 2-3 weeks. Anyone there at the time now has them burned into their subconscious.
    • Rather distressingly, one of these was a cheerful cartoon song about using "aisatsu", or grettings, to make the people in their neighbourhood happy. Keep in mind that this was during the middle of a crisis where people weren't even sure if their neighbours were going to be alive or not.
    • This wasn't the first time this had happened. PSAs only aired for at least a week following the death of Emperor Hirohito in 1989 and the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.
  • When they weren't showing an in-house "Cool Message for Kids" PSA or the Arbor Day Foundation PSA mentioned below, Fox Kids would show this McGruff the Crime Dog PSA, this Dudley the Dinosaur PSA or The Crayon Box That Talked at the end of their commercial breaks throughout its run. This practice lasted until the 2006-07 TV season.
    • In 2006, Fox always played a PSA for The Foundation for a Better Life featuring "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera during its Saturday morning shows. The PSA features a teenage girl trying to sit with popular girls in the cafeteria in a similar manner to Mean Girls.
  • 99% of the time one of the AdCouncil shampoo bottle recycling PSAs ads pops up, the other version will play immediately afterwards. The only real difference is the gender targeted by each advertisement and that one bottle becomes a comb while the other becomes a hairbrush. This mostly occurs on broadcast television, but cable channels like Nickelodeon will see them often enough.
  • This practice is common on channels that only run public service announcements and promos as ads, such as American Forces Network and Cablevision's now-defunct public access channel. On the AFN Kids block of the former channel in 2001, the average ad break would always have Eddie the Eagle and Smokey Bear PSAs, mixed in with other ads, during every commercial break, and the latter would always show ads for the Shelter Pet Project and Feeding America during every commercial break.
    • Another common AFN PSA was Gofer Cakes, which was so common that it played on the network into 2010, long after the mainland had stopped running the PSA. A local example of this would be this recycling PSA from the Okinawa AFN affiliate.
  • Because of their refusal to run any ads for junk food (save for Chuck E. Cheese ads airing in the first two years of the NBC block), movies or DVDs, qubo runs very few actual commercials. Thus, most of their ads tend to be public service announcements:
    • A few months before the qubo block ended on NBC, the Book People Unite PSA was shown often.
    • As of December 2016, qubo will show PSAs from The Foundation For A Better Life and very little actual commercials. Qubo likes to air them all the time, even though they've aired it like 30,000,000 times. No joke. The same thing happened on the former This Is For Kids block on ThisTV, especially during Danger Rangers, where two of these PSAs would play in the same break, usually the one after the Once an Episode song.
    • ''Can YOUR food do that?!"
    • The NFL Play60 were very common during the 2007-08 season of the block.
    • Advertisement:
    • Also common were PSAs that featured Disney characters, most commonly a Cinderella one about carseats.
  • Nickelodeon went through a phase of encouraging children to eat breakfast. Through this lovely PSA. Every single morning.
    • On a similar note, this healthy food-themed PSA played a lot during the earlier part of the decade, especially during the ad breaks between the Nick Jr. block's end and the resumption of normal Nickelodeon programming.
  • People who lived in the United States and watched Saturday morning cartoons on broadcast networks the 80's, 90's or 2000's are likely to remember this PSA for the Arbor Day Foundation and its' catchy song. It even showed up on cable networks such as USA during their Cartoon Express block, and on Fox Family at the end of the final commercial break of the shows broadcast during their morning block. On some channels, the ad played every 30 minutes or even twice in the same break because the Arbor Day Foundation had bought so much airtime.
  • This fire safety PSA was a common sight on One Saturday Morning during its first two seasons.
  • Local, city-specific TV stations in the UK (e.g. Mustard in Norwich) don't have much of a viewer base and therefore much of an advertiser base either so end up repeating public information films to fill the gap where paid advertisements would go. (For what it's worth, despite their being very region-specific this was never as big a problem on the old ITV regions since they had very wide service areas and viewership, thus attracting both local and national marketers.)
  • This is why Don't Put It In Your Mouth is a beloved PSA in Canada: it ran during practically every commercial break on children's programming in the 90's because of advertising laws prohibiting the number of ads that could be shown during children's shows in the country. PSAs didn't fall under these limits, plus it was a minute in length, making it an easy way to fill time back then that couldn't be filled with actual ads. There was also a similar ad involving puppet mice and a mousetrap with the same message (ask your parents if something is OK to eat) that ran around the same time, but not as frequently as Don't Put It In Your Mouth.
    • In the 2000's, the same treatment happened with The House Hippo, another PSA by Concerned Children's Advertisers. It was so frequently played and popular during that decade that the UK imported the PSA and it was remade two decades later.
  • As mentioned by this article on BuzzFeed, the PSA We're Not Candy ran frequently during television programming for kids in the 1980's. It was so common that it would be featured on one installment of I Love The Eighties!
  • In the 1980's, This Is Your Brain On Drugs was the most common PSA to seen chosen during an ad break. It was played so much that the ad became ingrained into American culture, with TV shows, movies and even other commercials referencing the PSA.
  • For some reason, the American Dental Association's Dudley the Dinosaur PSAs frequently played on various Saturday Morning Cartoon blocks in the 2000's, including Nick Jr. on CBS, Kids' WB! and its' successor TheCW4Kids and 4KidsTV.
  • In the fall of 2001, Disney's One Too loved showing a Garfield PSA about sleep during every final slot of the ad break.
  • On airings of shows such as Sailor Moon and Mega Man from 1995 to 1996, this NACME PSA starring Sinbad was frequently played.
  • The DiC Kids Network showed several PSAs constantly. Not counting the ones already listed above, they included the following:
    • An PSA from The Foundation For A Better Life featuring the song "If You Believe" by Kenny Loggins.
    • A United Cerebral Palsy PSA in which students think a boy's lunch choice is strange. This one also showed up frequently on AFN Kids.
    • The Energy Hog ad featuring an exterminator trying to remove the titular animals.
    • A Girl Scouts PSA about how to do well in math and science.
    • A PSA based on Trollz in which Amethyst teaches Onyx about crossing the street.
    • A PSA for the Women's Sports Foundation.
    • A Smokey Bear PSA using clips from Bambi. This PSA, along with a later version using clips from its' sequel, also frequently aired on qubo.
    • A PSA for the Computer Sciences Coorporation.
    • A PSA starring actress Lalanie Vergara-Paras (Miranda from Lizzie McGuire) about what she does to stay healthy.
    • An Operation Graduation PSA in which a bus driver tries to prevent a boy from missing his bus.
    • A Partnership For A Drug-Free America PSA featuring a song telling kids that they can take many things, but that they should never take drugs. This one also aired frequently on a few other stations in the United States (especially in California) as late as fall 2009.
  • A PSA for the National Science Foundation with a catchy song about science and technology ("astrology, biology, chemistry, zoology, science and technology!") was made in the 1980s, but apparently continued to play into the early 2000s.

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