Celebrities As A PSA

Changing Behaviors with Star Power

Public Service Announcements (PSAs) have long been a cornerstone of raising public awareness and promoting positive behavior changes. PSAs are messages disseminated by the media without charge, aimed at educating and informing the public.

Here are a few memorable examples from the past:

  • You Can Learn A Lot From A Dummy
  • Help Take a Bite Out Of Crime
  • Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink and Drive
  • This is your Brain on Drugs

Why PSAs Work

PSAs are effective for several key reasons:

  • They’re mutually beneficial. Government agencies, companies, and organizations can spread awareness about their cause while highlighting their mission. A clear call to action is vital, offering resources and showing how people can get involved and make a difference.
  • They’re authentic. Human-centered PSAs resonate more deeply with audiences. People are more likely to care about a cause if they see how it affects them or their community personally.
  • They’re targeted. Effective PSAs are tailored to their intended audience, not just the company’s business agenda.
  • They’re results-oriented. PSAs aim to invoke change by providing actionable steps, not just catchy slogans. They promote healthier practices and community involvement.

What Does This Have To Do With Famous People?

Quite a lot actually.

Consumers are bombarded with over 10,000 unsolicited ads daily. This onslaught has made many of us (96%) zone out. We have not only become accustomed to this constant communication in our lives, but also adept at only partially caring about the thing we are doing to begin with. Consider how many times you watch TV and scroll aimlessly through your phone at the same time.

Like it or not, this is the world we live in.

While there are many reasons why celebrities have started getting more involved with the products they promote, one core reason is that it works. Founders wouldn’t continue to part with 15%+ of equity for awareness if they could buy it elsewhere. Running a business, and specifically attracting customers, is much harder now. You not only need the cake, but the cherry on it to effectively communicate.

Celebrities, when used as an effective medium, can create the necessary bridge to an audience – helping people pay attention to things that they want to pay attention to. Whether they part with their cash is another story so we’ll stick to communication.

This newly created bridge can be used in a number of ways. At the moment, it’s currently helping make a lot of people rich.

But there are arguably better ways this bridge can be used.

One is to change behaviour for the better.

Celebrity Causes & Charities

It is not uncommon to see celebrities participate in causes they are passionate about. However, their involvement with the charity is relatively minimal and typically used as a PR stunt (for the charity or celebrity). This is not for a lack of desire, but more an organizational structure issue. Charities often focus on short term fundraising tactics in which celebrity PR is incredibly useful, but doesn’t typically drive the root of the cause forward apart from raising capital.

While this isn’t a bad model, it only scratches the surface of what celebrities can truly achieve if given the right platform and materials.

In many cases, a small change can create significant impact – whether that is a small change for everyone or a small change for a select few who can make a big change for everyone (think government policies).

The Power of PSAs

When used effectively, celebrities can drive massive behavior change. PSAs are mutually beneficial, authentic, targeted, and results-oriented, making them a powerful tool for influencing public behavior. With the decline of traditional broadcast advertising, leveraging celebrity-driven PSAs is a strategic move for impactful communications.

At Sandbox Studios, we believe in the power of creative storytelling to drive positive change. So much so that we like to put our money where our mouth is, which is a nice segway into our latest investment in Cabinet Health and how we are harnessing the power of media and celebrity influence to make a difference – see below!