Public Service Announcements vs. Video News Releases

Public service announcements have been airing on television for decades and have tackled topics ranging from bullying to obesity to gang violence to being green.  Over time the influence and popularity of public service announcements have grown tremendously and have gained support from celebrities who are participating in campaigns and commercials.  Television shows have recently taken it upon themselves to create and broadcast a public service announcement at the end of a particular episode if it touches on the subject.
Video news releases on the other hand are produced to look like actual news stories, but discuss subjects that a particular corporation or association deems important to announce; the television equivalent of a press release.  Companies ranging from Microsoft to Philip Morris to Wal-Mart to the pharmaceutical industry all have produced videos.  In these cases, television stations air the video news release either in its entirety or splice it at their discretion.  Either way, the company or association is getting its point across, and more often than not with the use of celebrities to further their support.
Both forms of videos are informative and successful in getting their information aired, however some people may see video news releases to be more biased.  Public service announcements are used to inform the public on social, cultural, or health topic that needs to be brought to attention.  Conversely announcements like Wal-Mart’s video news releases are not mandatory, but rather are simply informative.  Should more people be made aware of the consequences of obesity than Wal-Mart’s new Christmas Layaway campaign?  Of course, because obesity is a much more serious issue, however informing people of the Christmas Layaway program can help shoppers purchase the gifts they want, even if they don’t have the means to right away.  Ultimately both are helpful, but there should be more stress made on the airing of public service announcements rather than video news releases.

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