It is such a great feeling when you create something – from your own mind, heart and hands – and it goes on to have a large impact on other people. That’s pretty much how I’ve felt every single time I’ve gotten to play my “If You Read to Me” audio PSA for other people in the past few weeks.
I wrote this PSA last semester while designing the Ferst Foundation campaign as part of a team. From the get-go, it was pretty clear this PSA would affect people in a big way, because it used a child’s voice to deliver the message (thus utilizing the emotional appeal of pathos). The original PSA was written in a video format, and was changed a little to fit an audio format this semester. The script is as follows:
[Start: Background music]
Man: “Parents, teachers and friends. Thank you for your support as we graduate on this day and pursue our goals. We are here because you believed in us.”
Sound byte: Applause
Announcer: “30% of our nation’s children begin school unprepared to learn. Two-thirds of those that haven’t caught up to grade-level reading by the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare.”
Child: “If you read to me, I’ll gain the tools I need to get better grades in school, become a good person, and go farther in life. If you read to me, one day I’ll read to you.”
Announcer: “For more information about how our community can overcome these statistics, visit muscogeecountyferstfoundation.org.”
Thankfully, a member of my team in the Management class brought her boyfriend (who is really experienced with recording audio) along on the day we recorded, and he was able to produce the PSA for us. The child we recorded is an actual participant in the Ferst Foundation program, making his part all the more special. With this project, we really hit the mark; every person who has heard it has either shed a tear, cracked a big smile, or both. It’s a good one, and it’s powerful because of the child’s voice. This project has taught me a lot about producing really great work in the public relations world: you simply cannot accept anything less than top-notch quality. As the Muscogee Ferst Intern, I did just that, and it’s paid off tenfold. I’ve had multiple people tell me that they’ve heard the “If You Read to Me” PSA on radio stations in the area, and many more comment on the power the commercial has to move people. It’ll certainly be a valuable tool for the Ferst Foundation to use in the future, and I’m so grateful I was able to play a part in bringing the idea to life.