Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We Need to Bring Back PSAs

Remember PSAs? The 30-second spots, a little cheesy, but a good source of common sense? We need them back, on Primetime TV, and on social media, ASAP.

As an elder millennial (errr Oregon Trail Generation??) I think of two classic sources for PSAs. First, the popular The More You Know campaign of PSAs by NBC, and second, GI Joe cartoons. As an only child (aka no older siblings), GI Joe was particularly significant because it used the same animation style as the cartoon and featured dozens of PSA scenarios.

2017 Airline Videos, Poster Child for PSAs

If ever there was a business case for dialing up PSAs on Primetime TV it's the streak of viral airline videos from 2017. Some of the videos are horrific, poor customer service, where others are borderline entrapment where customers are trying to get their 15-seconds of fame, or win the GoFundMe sympathy lottery.

Like many of you, I've grown numb to these videos. It angers me to see how select airline employees, and select customers are conducting themselves. From a leadership standpoint, I believe the airline industry can do a better job training it's staff to internalize it's own airline policies, and federal aviation laws more consistently.

The airline industry should align to create a member-based organization where the organization publishes, trains and certifies customer-facing industry employees. Customers are tired of airlines being 'judge, jury, and executioner.' Airlines are not providing a consistent or predictable customer experience, including failing to follow it's own company's protocol, embellishing airline policy, and improper citation of federal aviation law.

Sometimes There's No "Good Guy" / "Bad Guy"

If 2015 and 2016 were years of viral police videos, 2017 will be a year of flight attendant videos. Why link fight attendants to police officers? Many of the viral videos we see are typically not the result of initial aggression of the video's villain. Often, many videos involve a repeated escalation of ignorance of the "good guy" towards the "bad guy," ending in a "gotcha" video clip. Examples include customers being narcissistic with airline employees, or citizens being aggressive and non compliant with police officers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending many of these videos. I am emphasizing that often these videos are not the narrative of an innocent bystander being victimized or bullied by a person in power. Meaning, if training is needed for the airline industry for "bad guy behavior," something is needed to counter with the consumer.

Ignorance is Bliss: Reducing Customer 15-Seconds of Fame

Consumers need to understand what airline policies are, what might be possible through discretion, how to make a special request, and how to alternatively plan if a request is not possible. This includes easier to locate FAQ documentation on what can be brought on a plane, and when contacting customer support before the flight (aka before arriving at the airport is appropriate).

Airport Code of Conduct PSA

The pinnacle of this should include PSAs on how to conduct oneself on a flight, and who better to produce these PSAs than the yet to be created industry collaborative organization responsible for customer-facing certifications. These would run in Primetime, and also could be formatted for children's programming. If I learned anything through the D.A.R.E program, and childhood PSAs, it's that children are powerful when it comes to self-policing adults and asking why the adult is behaving a certain way.

Bonus: Classic GI Joe PSAs

G.I. Joe PSA - Barbeque - Don't pull the fire alarm unless there's a fire

G.I. Joe PSA - Hawk - Obey railroad crossing signs

G.I. Joe PSA - Lady Jaye - Stop and think before you act

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