Disasters are not funny. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean FEMA can’t have a sense of humor when it comes to discussing disaster preparation!
The ads don’t utilize average straight-talking fear tactics. Instead, they are humorous “here is what you should NOT do” versions of family conversations.
In “Seat Of Your Pants,” a family sounds like they are planning ahead for a disaster -- until you actually hear what they say...
“Not Sharing,” another spot in the campaign, shows a mother who is just thrilled to tell her children that she won’t share the family contingency plan she came up with. Why? Just because it is weird to talk about.
Despite their quirky nature, the spots are a way to get people talking about a real issue. Even though the 2013 hurricane season started out slower than expected, a number of extreme weather events are predicted for the upcoming months, and knowing what to expect is key.
It is no coincidence that the ads were released just before FEMA’s National Preparedness Month. Beginning in 2004, FEMA has made a yearly push to keep Americans aware and prepared for any emergencies that may come their way.
While September is the designated preparedness time, the FEMA website states that “the overall goal [of the program] is to engage the public to make preparedness a part of their daily lives and just not for one single month.”
Check out the infographic below to see how Ready is teaching families to be better prepared for emergencies. Which PSA did you like best? Let us know in the comments!
Also on HuffPost:
Audi: "The Green Police"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-roberts/audis-green-police-ad-isn_b_453064.html" target="_blank">This ad from Superbowl XLIV</a> in 2010 shows an alternate <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Bright-Green/2010/0209/Audi-s-Green-Police-Super-Bowl-ad-controversial" target="_blank">reality, which the Christian Science Monitor</a> described as “a kind of libertarian nightmare.” Here, the Green Police rule the world, arresting people for infractions such as requesting a plastic bag, installing incandescent light bulbs and throwing an orange rind in the garbage instead of the compost. Surprisingly, people on both the left <em>and</em> the right of environmental issues were offended by this ad. As Jonah Goldberg wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, <a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/02/audis-green-police-ad-stirs-controversy/1#.UBmfsjFSTDU" target="_blank">conservatives felt the commercial mocked a scenario they truly feared</a>, while The New York Times said <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/08/business/media/08adco.html" target="_blank">the “misguided spot put the ‘mental’ in ‘environmental.’”</a>
Legal Sea Foods: "Save The Crab"
Seafood restaurant chain Legal Sea Foods is no stranger to environmental ire: <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/1714529/does-legal-seafoods-blacklisted-fish-dinner-offer-reel-truth-or-mere-press-bait" target="_blank">The group hosted a "blacklisted seafood" dinner </a>in order to start a conversation about what CEO Roger Berkowitz called "almost draconian" fishing legislation. However, <a href="http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/legal-sea-foods-mocks-save-animals-psas-new-ads-134825" target="_blank">this 2011 ad campaign rubbed some people</a>, like Greenpeace director John Hocevar, the wrong way. "The choice isn't between putting fish on a pedestal or eating them," Hocevar said <a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/advertising/story/2011-09-12/legal-sea-foods-controversial-ads/50374940/1" target="_blank">in response to the ad</a>. "It's between reforming the way we produce our seafood or irrevocably degrading our oceans." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/13/legal-seafoods-save-the-fish_n_960927.html" target="_blank">Click here to view more of the ads</a> from this campaign.
10:10: "No Pressure"
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO Although <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/green-living-blog/2010/oct/04/10-10-activism" target="_blank">this spot was up for less than 24 hours</a>, it left behind quite a legacy. The <a href="http://www.1010global.org/uk" target="_blank">UK climate action group 10:10</a> released "No Pressure" in 2010 as a playful way to encourage people to cut down on carbon emissions. Instead, it <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/environmental-interest-group-makes-snuff-film-for-the-planet/" target="_blank">generated so much controversy</a> that the ad was quickly taken off the air, and campaign director Eugenie Harvey <a href="http://www.1010global.org/uk/2010/10/sorry" target="_blank">posted a public apology to the group's site</a>.
Groupon: "Save The Money"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/04/super-bowl-commercials-controversial_n_1254679.html#s663794" target="_blank">Superbowl XLV was a major disaster</a> for the discount coupon site <a href="http://www.groupon.com/" target="_blank">Groupon</a>. In 2011, the relatively new company premiered three new ads during <a href="http://www.superbowl-commercials.org/16341.html" target="_blank">the notoriously expensive commercial slots</a>, only to have all three be deemed offensive and distasteful. Time Magazine called <a href="http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/02/07/and-the-most-offensive-super-bowl-ad-goes-to-groupon/" target="_blank">Groupon's Tibet spot the most offensive ad</a> of the year, and <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Groupon-Super-Bowl-Ad-Fails-Badly-115480369.html" target="_blank">NBC Chicago called the ads "lackluster"</a> and "borderline offensive." <a href="https://blog.groupon.com/cities/our-super-bowl-ads-and-how-were-helping-these-causes/" target="_blank">Groupon posted an explanation</a> of why they chose the ads they did, but <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/28/groupon-stock-goes-up-in-after-hours-trading-on-news-that-ceo-andrew-mason-has-been-fired/" target="_blank">the company has been struggling</a> for the last few years.
MoveOn.org: "The Air We Breathe"
After <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/16/senator-blanche-lincoln-t_n_463665.html" target="_blank">Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) co-sponsored legislation</a> in 2010 to block greenhouse gas regulation, MoveOn.org released this ad playing off the <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/controversial-pro-clean-air-act-ad-shows-babies-smoking-video.html" target="_blank">senator's suggestion that congress "take a breath."</a> Libertarian think tank CEI called the <a href="http://cei.org/op-eds-articles/attack-scare-ads" target="_blank">ad "false" and "misleading."</a>
Keep America Beautiful Campaign: "The Crying Indian"
Considered to be <a href="http://www.kab.org/site/PageServer?pagename=kab_history" target="_blank">one of the most successful PSAs in history</a>, "The Crying Indian" is an iconic, yet controversial, look into America's early environmental efforts. Although<a href="http://www.aef.com/exhibits/social_responsibility/ad_council/2278" target="_blank"> it won numerous awards</a>, <a href="http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/3642/" target="_blank">Orion magazine calls the ad a "fraud,"</a> and Grist notes that the spot has <a href="http://grist.org/climate-energy/2011-10-04-laugh-at-the-crying-indian-all-you-want-the-jokes-on-us/" target="_blank">devolved into pop culture fodder</a>.
MTV Switch: "The Green Song"
Created by the ad agency <a href="http://www.180amsterdam.com/we/" target="_blank">180 Amsterdam</a> for <a href="http://blogs.mtvswitch.org/" target="_blank">MTV's Switch campaign</a> in 2008, "The Green Song" calls out businesses and politicians for <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwashing" target="_blank">greenwashing</a>, a method some PR firms use to make companies appear more eco-friendly. "There are so many fake greens out there it is criminal," 180 Amsterdam's creative director, Sean Thompson, told <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/sep/11/advertising.marketingandpr" target="_blank">The Guardian</a>.
Plane Stupid: "It's Raining Polar Bears"
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO <a href="http://www.planestupid.com/aboutus" target="_blank">Plane Stupid, a grassroots group</a> aimed at preventing airport expansion, <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/culture/new-tv-ad-shows-polar-bears-falling-to-gruesome-deaths-video.html" target="_blank">released this shocking video in 2009</a> in an effort to "confront people with the impact that short-haul flights have on the climate." However, some people, like Ed Gillespie, co-director of sustainable communications agency Futerra, wondered whether <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/23/polar-bears-falling-to-th_n_367693.html" target="_blank">the shock value of the ad took away from the message</a>. "The danger is that by pumping up the high octane drama of an ad, you increase the risk of viewers feeling manipulated," he <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/nov/20/polar-bears-plane-stupid" target="_blank">wrote in a Guardian op-ed</a>.
World Wildlife Fund: "It All Comes Back To You"
In this 2010 ad, the WWF promoted this violent ad that made a connection between <a href="http://blogs.wwf.org.uk/wild-life/video/it-all-comes-back-to-you/" target="_blank">littering and being run over by a truck</a>. However, it seems as though the group changed marketing strategies in more recent years. According to The New York Times,<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/business/media/world-wildlife-fund-anti-poaching-campaign-avoids-violent-images.html" target="_blank"> the WWF's new anti-poaching campaign</a> specifically avoids violent imagery.
Quercus: "Stop Global Warming"
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO This 2008 ad from <a href="http://www.quercus.pt/" target="_blank">Quercus, a Portuguese nature conservation group</a>, focuses heavily on the impact climate change has on animal habitat. Watching animals commit suicide makes for a particularly stark message.