LG’s ‘Give it a ponder’: PSA with a difference

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Campaigns which don’t aim to sell the product but hope to creative a positive imagery are quite limited in the telecom category. What sticks in the mind are campaigns urging you to talk more (even walk more) and increase usage occasions – call your mum, stay connected with your friends online and such like. The public service advertising that comes from them is usually to do with mobile etiquette – don’t use a phone in the cinemas, don’t take photos without permission…stuff like that.

I found this recent campaign (OK, I am late on this) from LG, USA, quite intriguing. LG conducted research among teens about mobile usage and according to the press release:

Through its research, LG discovered important insights about tween and teen mobile phone behavior, including one that LG has dubbed the “tabloid teen.” While the unfortunate reality is that most teens interviewed consider certain behaviors such as forwarding text-based gossip and sexually explicit or compromising images of classmates a normal part of teen life, LG discovered that “tabloid teens,” those who belong to an accepted social circle or clique, and use gossip as a form of social currency, are the ones most likely to engage in, and be the target of this type of behavior.

Stating that ‘certain behaviors…like sending sexually explicit images are a normal part of teen life’ maybe an exaggeration. That aside, the attempt was to educate teens about mobile phone misuse, specifically texting. What I liked was the packaging of the campaign, starting with the theme, ‘Give it a ponder‘. Not preachy, but friendly. The TV spots and the surround campaigns use James Lipton, specifically his beard.

The use of the Ponder Beard in the campaign is a humorous twist on the familiar gesture of stroking your chin when deep in thought. The idea of “pondering before you text” comes to life via tween and teen-targeted webisodes, cinema spots, digital out-of-home billboards, and social media applications. The webisodes feature a beardless James Lipton (Inside the Actors Studio) who encourages teens to Give It A Ponder while caught up in the excitement of certain situations such as sexting, or texting a hurtful rumor.

See the TV spots here. I found the posters even funnier.

Agency: Young and Rubicam

The visual mnemonic of the beard, James Lipton sans his beard, the oddball humour and the non-preachy tone of voice makes it entertaining. I hope it actually makes the teens ponder before they text something inappropriate.

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