Covert and Public Service Advertising

As evident from the word “covert”, this type of advertising aims to integrate the advertising with the non-promotional mediums. This practice is most-commonly found in films. For example, billboards of the products may be shown in the film for a prolonged period of time. Or a character in the film may mention the name of the brand again and again. At other times the director may present the product as an integral part of the film. For example, the cars featured in several action flicks. Remember the Cadillac in Matrix Reloaded and BMWs in James Bond movies.

It is a fact that these tactics seem to be high profile and also seem to require a lot of bucks. Only established brand names have used such form of advertising. Not everyone has the financial prowess to use this form of advertising. However, there are ways through which you can also promote your product or service. Maybe contributing an article in local daily will work well for you. You can mention your brand quite subtly there. On the Internet too, covert advertising is a hot trend. You can blog about the product or ask a well-known blogger to write about your product or service. However, this should be done inconspicuously.

As opposed to covert advertising, public service advertising aims at spreading awareness about issues that are relevant to public interest. Such ads may quote a political viewpoint, a philosophy, or a religious concept. Such humanitarian ads are usually broadcasted on the radio or television, though they can also appear in newspapers and magazines. A PSA or Public Service Announcement is aimed to alter public attitudes on issues ranging from health, safety, and conservation.

Most of the PSA ads use celebrities in order to gain attention. Others focus their ads on the risks that can come to men, women, and children. In recent years, it has become quite common in US to broadcast the public service ads just after or in between the programs that relate to public service in any way. They provide information such as the toll free help lines, websites and addresses. In general, the public service ads are about rape, HIV, cancer, child abuse, domestic violence, and civil rights.

While public service advertising is not as popular as paid advertising, it should be given due importance. All across the world, such type of advertising is now widely used. In fact, in US, public service advertising was once a requirement if the radio and television stations were to get their licenses from Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Public Service Advertising should carry a short and to the point message. The advertisement should be made keeping the target audience in mind. As it is not about buying a product but a change in the attitude altogether, the advertisements have to be amply clear and the message should prompt the people to take a step forward. If the shift in the mindsets of people does not happen, then the ad is not conveying the message properly. For this reason, the PSA’s are often dramatic and expressive.


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