Opinion

ASPCA commercials hound viewers, turn them away from donating


We have all been there. It is 3 a.m. and you cannot sleep, so you turn on the TV, expecting to watch something uplifting, and instead, you are crying, yet somehow simultaneously annoyed. That’s right; you know the topic at hand — those ASPCA commercials.

The goal behind these commercials is to convince viewers to donate to their charity, which benefits orphaned and abused animals. In an attempt to gain donations, the ASPCA has created commercials that contain pictures and videos of animals that are victims of abuse. It tugs away at our heartstrings and makes us feel the need to help out animals.

However, after many years on the air, people are becoming annoyed with the roughly 45-second showing. What once was a psychologically affecting program has now become a cause of irritation.

“I used to pay attention, but they always make me cry, so I stopped,” said business finance freshman Jackie Spradling. “But usually I change the channel the second it comes on.”

According to their annual report, available on ASPCA.org, the charity’s total assets went from $213,706,112 in 2011 to $213,492,255 to 2011 — although not a severe drop-off, losing even a small amount of assets can show where the ASPCA could be going: downhill. (Did they mean to have both of these numbers from 2011?)

The ASPCA should consider a different approach. The concept behind them is to donate, yet no one will donate if they just change the channel the second it comes on.

“I feel like they are not doing successfully. It touches the emotional aspect of its audience, but I feel like the message doesn’t really persuade me,” said public relations freshman Christy Ho.

Ho, along with Spradling, has not donated money to the ASPCA either.

A new, valid approach would be to address the positivity of their charity — they have already addressed what needs to be done; people are already aware of the pain caused to too many animals from around the country. Although it makes people emotional, many still do not want to donate.

The ASPCA could gain more donations from sharing a success story — for example, clips of animals living in a happy, loving home after help from the ASPCA.

Opinion columnist Blake Mudd is a journalism freshman and may be reached at opinion@thedailycougar.com

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