This morning a major environmentalist sent me this new PSA from Heal the Bay and asked my opinion. It’s a 4 minute film which is brilliantly executed, BUT … who’s it going to play to?
“POLITE CONVERSATIONS PRODUCE POLITE RESULTS” – that’s a little rule we learned from our friends at Deloitte this past spring. And it’s true. This is a polite PSA about plastic bags that will produce polite results. Which is great for the painfully-polite PBS crowd.
I’ll tell you. It plays to the PBS crowd. In the first ten seconds (which is about how much time most people give a piece of media — read Gladwell’s book, “Blink”) it clearly has the tone and style of a PBS production. Which means the PBS crowd will say, “Oh, goodie, here’s someone having fun with our type of media!” But that’s about it.
And then ask yourself where the vast majority of plastic bags that clog the waterways of Los Angeles (just for example) come from. Brentwood? Beverly Hills? Westwood? Ah don theeenk so.
Diversification. It’s a weak point for environmental media, which tends to be consistently white bread — especially when it comes to the terrifying subject of humor in relation to the environment. Not easy reaching those other demographics. And not within the scope of the PBS voice. But not impossible. Just requires an interest in that old thing called innovation. And by the way, now that the climate communication effort has officially failed, don’t you think it would be a nice time to try some new approaches?