STOP NEIGHBORHOOD SPEEDING
The previously blogged-about PSA I made for PEDS is now online, and a link is provided below.
This is the "director's cut," and now the story (most of it, anyway) can be told.
We tried to make the PSA a little disturbing, while staying within the barriers of good taste. PEDS is an organization that has never been afraid of being confrontational and provocative, so when they were awarded the funds to shoot a safety PSA, they were inspired by the more graphic PSAs that air in the UK and Australia, as well as the shocking driver education films of the 1960s. So that was our objective as we sat at the drawing board.
Most people would argue that the PSA is too tame, but they would be in the minority. When PEDS submitted the piece to Cinemedia -- the group that produces the promotional packages that run before the movies in regional theatre chains, such as Regal and AMC -- they were told that the piece was too violent. It was suggested that we deleted the effect of the girl getting hit by the car, and the shot of her lying under the coroner's sheet.
Initially, PEDS's response was to bypass Cinemedia and the have the PSA shown on the local cable system, where it could be placed on specific channels, in specific time blocks, so it wouldn't offend sensitive viewers. That should work, right? No soap. Comcast rejected the PSA completely.
Okay... if Regal and AMC Cinemas won't show it... and Comcast won't show it... we'll go directly to the local TV channels. I mean, after all, this was sponsored by the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, and they were very pleased with the ad. Sorry. At least two local network affiliates rejected the ad outright. We were later told that the PSA would have to pass through another governmental agency for approval and that there was no way it would pass muster.
The same theatres that show pornographic tripe like HOSTEL 2 and CAPTIVITY won't show the PSA linked above? The same TV channels that show CSI and all that garbage won't show a safety message with suggested violence? Apparently a different sete of standards apply to original content -- as opposed to advertising content. You would think that the person paying for the airtime would enjoy a greater amount of creative freedom, but just the reverse is true. And you would think that a PSA that is trying to save children's lives would be looked upon more favorably than a TV show or movie that stages violence as a form of entertainment. Not the case, my friends.
In the end, Cinemedia agreed to accept a revised PSA (with the same required cuts mentioned above), and would show it on screens showing movies rated PG-13 or R. We agreed, and a revised PSA was born:
Recently, however, a couple of people went to see PG-13 movies for the sole purpose of viewing the PSA beforehand. Much to their surprise, the PSAs did not run. We have just been informed that AMC pulled the ad from all PG-13 screens, and will only show it on R-rated screens. I'm not talking about the "director's cut," I'm talking about the CENSORED VERSION! R-Rated audiences only.
Whom could this ad possibly offend?