Many PSAs fail because they only provide information and information is rarely enough to change the audience’s behavior. But sometimes information is enough. Sometimes education can persuade. And this is one of those occasions.
The Stroke Association is not trying to get viewers to buy brand A instead of brand B, to vote for candidate C rather than candidate D, or to stop smoking or start exercising. In this case, education is all that is needed. The advertiser just has to raise the mental availability of “stroke” and stroke symptoms. Once “stroke” pops into someone’s mind, they’ll race to dial 911.
However, since viewers are already eager to do what the ad suggests, the ad need not come at the subject so gingerly. Why spend 13 seconds of a 30 second spot talking about unrelated “body language” when the audience is ready to hear about the signs of stroke? Just a quick shot of a universally understood sign, maybe an umpire calling a base runner out, then on to the signs of stroke (F.A.S.T.): face drooping, arm weakness, and speech difficulty. Viewers will know it is time to call 911.