Minority Education PSA Analysis

PSA: Supporting Minority Education

United Negro College Fund (UNCF) PSA Ad

UNCF Last Slide (out of three slides) PSA

UNCF Last Slide (out of three slides) PSA

The United Negro College Fund has set up a crafty, simple yet informative public service announcement to demonstrate the importance of funds for African Americans to go to college.  This ad is broken up into three slides that play to provide the viewer with more knowledge and facts about the UNCF and its purpose to provide more and more African American students with the money they need to go to college.

The first slide that appears has a contrast in different elements of pictures, color and text which illustrate the function UNCF has in giving students money for college, but do not have enough funds to offer money to all African American students who need the help of their organization.  The first thing that strikes the viewer is the bold white text. In reading the ad, the viewer can sympathize with UNCF’s struggle in turning away students who need money for school just as much as any other students they assist with funds.  The most prominent of the phrases is “But we have to turn away thousands more.”  With that the viewer almost feels compelled to keep watching the mini ad. With that somber tone, the colors have the same effect because of the specific color palette chosen.  The three main colors in the ad are sea foam green and black with hints of white.  The bottom of the slide shows two pictures, one is of a child in black and white and the other is a vibrant butterfly.  The black and white image portrays the simplicity of a child and having only black and white allows the viewer to notice the innocence of the boy.  The butterfly is an interesting animal UNCF chose to go along with their PSA.  The butterfly seems to be a symbol of development, growth along with maturing knowledge.  I think the butterfly draws out to the viewer that these children need our help and donations to grow and gain wisdom by going to college.  The framing of the butterfly and child assist the viewer in drawing a correlation between the student “spreading its wings” to gain the most from school and education he can.

The second slide projects the marketing strategy of UNCF and prompts viewers to make a donation.  This slide fits particularly well as the second slide because the viewer already feels for those students who UNCF are unable to be supported by UNCF’s fund and these emotions may bring the viewer to give a donation.  Many people can relate to the struggles of money regarding the high prices of college all across America.  This slide is very “pathos driven” because many can sympathize with the cost of college or has known someone who struggled with paying for college and can empathize in that respect as well.  The elements of the second slide still mimic the first and further the same message to the viewer from a child needing to grow and mature as a butterfly would, and college is what will do that for the student.

The last slide plays the most on the audiences’ emotions similarly to the second slide because it quotes UNCF’s motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” The quote is placed in large text right up at the top of the PSA to note that it’s message is very important.  As viewers of this ad, we see this quote and think about the disadvantage some African American students can encounter and without funds, they might never reach their full potential in life. Thus, it is up to us to provide UNCF with a donation for the benefit of all the students they can’t help right now due to their own insufficient funds.  It seems like a pity to “waste” a mind and I know that some viewers would definitely agree and log onto the website of UNCF and make a donation right away.  If everyone received the extensive education that college provides, our society would benefit heavily from it.

So, which slide was the most effective in demonstrating UNCF’s purpose of providing more African American students with funds for a good college education? Or was it the whole sequence of the slides all together that reaffirmed the purpose? In my opinion, I believe that as a WHOLE all the slides functioned as a little machine to provide information, a cause, reason why and even contact information to give the view the most knowledge possible in a small PSA.  Each slide has specific elements that present all the information UNCF needs to create awareness and donations. I certainly consider giving money to UNCF’s cause because though the cost of education is priceless, an individual needs a significant amount of money to go through college.  UNCF is on the right path to providing many more African American students who cannot afford to go to college on their own, receive a college education with their funds.


  1. I honestly do not feel you need to change anything. Just read it out loud to fix a few spelling and punctuation errors but other than that it is well written, descriptive, and I really like how you incorporated the ad in your blog =D

  2. This was very good, I like everything about it. There is nothing I would tell you to change. I think you hit every point of this ad.

  3. You might want to attach a link or even the pictures that you are describing in your paper. I mean it would help visualized and it would help you out as well by providing visualization for those of us that are visual learning. I really like the way you described every little slide. I mean everything in your paper flows together from one thing to the other. I think that the last slide was the one that stood out the most because its letting us know about the website and it also talks about the quote “a mind is a terrible thing to waste” and this quote is actually very strong I mean you could probably talk about this quote a little bit more.

  4. Hi Caitlin,
    For the most part, this is a smart, well-written analysis, and it focuses on visual design quite well, noting colors, pictures, text.

    Some things are not handled well. Your discussion of the PSA’s appeal to audience never makes a case about who the ad appeals to. You use the word “our,” but does this PSA really target everyone, including college students?

    I also did not understand the purpose behind the “which slide is better” tactic in the final paragraph. It is obvious, to me at least, that these images are a web banner meant to be displayed and viewed as a cohesive sequence, not compared and contrasted. That said, I would have liked to have seen some more evaluation of the sequence and its contribution to the overall purpose of this text as a single unit. The arc of your analysis seems to be leading there, but the final paragraph does not deliver. You owe it to the rest of your fine analysis to have a better ending.

    Steve Halle

  5. […] Example 4 […]

  6. […] Example 4 […]

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