Arts and Culture

The Weird and Wonderful World of P.S.A’s

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Ah the public service announcement, brief snippets of absurdity, bad acting, and finger wagging, that has been entertaining America and myself for decades. Being a child of the eighties, certain shows and commercial jingles will always stay embedded in my brain taking up viable space for much more useful information, and PSA’s will always hold a special place in my heart. I wonder who actually benefits from these ads? Is a drug addict, compulsive gambler, and alcoholic finally going to start paying attention if McGruff the talking dog tells them to? Did Rachel Leigh Cook frying up brain eggs in the kitchen make you think twice about inhaling?  These are questions I’ll let you ponder to yourself while I round up some of my favorite campaigns from over the years.

Mr. Yuk

Given the psychedelic vibe of this ad, I’m going to assume that ingesting poison is sort of like doing acid. Household objects take on a life of their own and try to attack you while creepy Halloween music plays in the background. I even had a friend who said watching this ad give him nightmares for weeks as a child. After I watched this in school, my teacher give the class tons of Mr. Yuk stickers to take home and place on poisonous goods in our home. So naturally I stuck them on everything in the house from our home phone, the dog and paper bags lunches I deemed unacceptable. Once in awhile I’ll find an old dusty Trapper Keeper in storage proudly displaying a Mr Yuk sticker on the cover and get a little teary eyed.

Helen Hunt on Crank

If someone ever mentions the word crank these days it makes me think of sub par action movies with Jason Statham rather than a form of meth. I was never really tempted to try crank and but after watching this PSA with a fresh faced Helen Hunt who hallucinates and freaks the fuck out after being peer pressured by her feathered haired boyfriend, I am now both afraid of crank and high school in the Eighties. The best part is when the couple at the end get high and then plummet to their deaths-Thelma and Louise style. That crank is some scary stuff guys.

Pee Wee

I wonder is Paul Reubens ever thought he’d end up in a movie called Blow after doing this anti-crack PSA. Like most kids, I thought Pee Wee Herman was God, so if he told me in his best put-on nasally voice that I could DIE like so easily, you better believe I took that shit seriously. I don’t want to be “dead-wrong” Pee Wee!

Crystal Meth

Who needs horror movies when you can just watch these incredibly disturbing meth ads that ran in Montana and other problem states. After watching the series Breaking Bad I was fascinated by the meth phenomenon until I saw these gems and that cleared up any illusions I had about this drug. Whether it was kids beating up and robbing families or selling your sister’s hoo-ha for a fix, I needed a cold shower and a long hug after watching these. I can only hope my boyfriend won’t get hooked on meth and sell me for drugs, right honey? You can watch all of them here.

Sloppy Brits

With a URL like Cocktales, you’re sure to get some attention. Sadly this site features more anti-binge drinking information then nude photos of Tom Cruise throwing bottles in the air. Apparently the Brits have enough of a booze-hound problem over there that they’ve launced a nation wide awareness campaign depicting people getting run over by cars and young women pissing themselves in public. The later being mildy funny and sort of sad which is I guess what they were going for. I guess if the woman pictured had one of these, she’d wouldn’t have to add injury to insult by also falling into her own piss.

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Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S, left the "sixth borough" three years ago to settle in Brooklyn. After working at some daily rags, she now does writing on the side but still eats more Ramen then necessary. When she's not moving residences every 6 months, eating her way through every neighborhood, and trying every microbrew known to man, she is unsuccessfully rediscovering home economics. With her binging days behind her, she's now exploring new projects and rediscovering the city that she loves (although is still prone to sliding on her knees during a Prince karaoke set).