Sponsorship spots on public television identify and describe sponsors, leaving ample room for creativity and expression of brand attributes. Some companies are able to run their existing spots, and others find that a small change in voice-over is all it takes to fit the non-promotional environment of public television.
Sponsorship guidelines are shaped not only by clear government regulations, but also by significant sponsorship success. In other words, public television guidelines are less about what’s “allowed” and more about what works best for sponsors and viewers.
Messaging that works on PBS:
- Value neutral descriptions of a product line or service and corporate mission
- Brand and trade names and product or service listings
- Visual descriptions of specific products
- Location information, including telephone numbers and web addresses
- Logograms or slogans which identify and do not promote
Sponsorship messaging may not include:
- Call to action (e.g., “come in today and take a test drive”)
- Superlative description or qualitative claim about the company, its products, or its services (e.g., “the most intelligent car ever built”)
- Direct comparison with other companies, or with other companies’ products or services
- Price or value information (e.g., “only $160 down and $160 per month, “affordable,” “discount,” “free”)
- Inducements to buy, sell, rent or lease (e.g., “six months’ free service when you buy”)
- Endorsements (e.g., “recommended by 4 out of 5 doctors for headache pain”)
- Demonstrations of consumer satisfaction