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ERIC Number: ED401594
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Nov-9
Pages: 48
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Humor as a Presentational Device in Broadcast Public Service Announcements.
Swanson, D. J.
On a daily basis, American television and radio audiences are subjected to a stream of broadcast Public Service Announcements (PSAs), each promoting "some kind of social or economic action deemed beneficial" (Stridsberg, 1977). Often, these announcements employ humor as a presentational device to help stimulate the behavioral change needed to bring about "beneficial" action. Existing research literature has addressed communication and marketing strategies which are used to target PSAs to specific audiences, but insufficient attention has been given to the display of humor as a part of this process. Humor is often used in politics, the workplace, and in educational settings when classroom teachers wish to reduce tension and help facilitate learning. A content analysis of more than 100 television and radio PSAs explored the use of humor to shape public opinion and influence behavior. Specific attention was given to announcement verbal, visual, and dramatic elements. Five categories surfaced as being most commonly used in PSAs: analogy, burlesque, caricature, parody, and satire; examples of each type serve to illustrate how these humorous PSAs work. Some suggestions for using humor effectively in PSAs include: verify that the campaign and subject matter are appropriate; identify the target audience and campaign objectives sought; use a single unified theme over and over; employ positive reinforcement of behavior; and bring media gatekeepers and community opinion leaders into the process. (Contains 55 references and a table of the PSAs analyzed.) (Author/NKA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A