HOW TO PACKAGE YOUR TV PSA FOR
MAXIMUM IMPACT/MINIMUM COST
by Bill Goodwill
One of the most frequently asked questions about PSAs is how should we package our campaign - what do we need to do to maximize impact and do it at a reasonable cost? Over the years, we have used a wide variety of packaging concepts - everything from expensive four-color, high quality, custom manufactured boxes, to bubble bags with a plain two-color label.
Since direct mail is used to get packages to stations, We recommend employing the same kind of techniques that have made other forms of direct mail successful. It is important to create packages that are functional, compelling enough to attract media attention, and to protect the video tapes in transit to stations.
The Message and the Master
Before we get to the external packaging, there are some tips pertaining to the video tape itself that need to be addressed. While we have no control over it - since it is a creative decision – one of the worst mistake that clients often make is to send a single :30 PSA to stations. This is a mistake on several levels. First, you are paying for 5 minutes of tape whether you use all or part of it, so why not use it all? Secondly, a :60 PSA will generate from half to 60% of your exposure, which creates more value and permits more time to register your message. Finally you need to provide flexibility to stations because if they have a shorter availability, and you have no shorter spots, you lose!
Our Standard TV PSA Package
You can spend a substantial amount of money on packaging alone, and there is no data to show that expensive packaging pays off in increased usage. Instead of spending money on fancy packaging which may not generate additional exposure, we recommend spending that money to target more media outlets. That will result in more exposure, and that is what really counts. The end goal is to create compelling, intrusive packaging without spending a lot on it.
Our standard TV PSA package provides a good example. It's comprised of a four-color TV storyboard, a four-color TV box label, and a one-color evaluation business reply card as its basic components. Click on this link to see different types of samples for all types of media .TV Public Service Directors are very busy people and have told us we have about one minute to engage them on any given campaign. Accordingly, we use a storyboard design concept which we developed because it achieves several things in one collateral piece. It has a letter to the public service director; it has facts on your organization or issue; and it shows visual vignettes of what is actually on the tape. The storyboards are half folded so they will fit into the shipping box.
The dub box label is typically four-color, although we have produced them in everything from black and white to five colors. The purpose of the label is to help your campaign cut through the clutter of other PSAs arriving on the desks of public service directors every day. It also should have all the information public service directors need to know to schedule your PSA - titles, total running time, the kill date if there is one and a benefit statement.
If you are distributing both English and Spanish PSAs, it is best to package them together for several reasons. First, it saves a tremendous amount of money. Secondly, there are some stations in markets that serve both Hispanic and English-speaking audiences that might use both versions. Finally, public service directors are multi-lingual, pre-cluding the need to produce a separate Spanish language package.
Having made these points, it is important to show that we are culturally sensitive to Hispanic audiences. One way we reinforce this is to produce labels with photos of Hispanic people on them and copy in both languages such as the one shown here.
Evaluation Response Card
Even though we use the Nielsen SpoTrac TV tracking system to evaluate TV PSA usage, we still insert an business reply evaluation card (BRC) into packages and there are several reasons for this. First, if a station edits the PSA to brand it for their local use in some fashion, it is possible they would interfere with the Nielsen tracking code, and if that happens we may not get usage data. Thus, the BRC ensures we do not miss any usage.
Secondly, we use the BRC to provide feedback on station changes - new names of public service directors, address changes and the videotape format preferred by the station.
We can also use the BRCs to ask specific questions about usage such as the acceptance of satellite feeds. They key to the design of the BRC is not to ask open-ended questions which will result in meaningless feedback. Instead, we ask very specific information such as the number of times they use a PSA, the spot length they used, and the estimated number of weeks they used the PSA. To make it easier for public service directors to complete the BRC, we apply a second mailing label to the bounce-back card which are returned to our office for processing.
Once the collateral materials are assembled, they are inserted in heavy duty corrugated shipping boxes to which the four-color label is applied. The label is designed in such a way that it wraps around the box and the station label is applied to the back side of the box so it does not cover up the graphics on the front.
The Take Away
For the client, packaging is one of those functions that is out of sight, thus perhaps out of mind. However, to ensure that the PSAs get used and all the money that was spent on producing and distributing the PSAs pays off, it is important to work closely with your distributor so that PSAs are packaged in a way that will get them used.
In review, that means: