Channel One Kicks Off PSA Effort

Primedia’s Channel One Network will produce and air PSAs this fall to combat underage drinking, school violence and drug abuse, and promote mental health.

Creative for the PSAs-the first collaborative effort to run on the network-will be contributed pro bono by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Partnership for a Drug-Free Amer ica, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign.

“Channel One has lived day in and day out with 8 million teenagers,” said Jim Ritts, the network’s president and CEO. “What we ought to be doing is set ourselves up as a catalyst to help solve the problems of teenagers.”

The effort comes at a time when criticism against commercials appearing in classrooms is growing. Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, a group founded by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, sent letters last week to Channel One advertisers, urging them not to air ads on the network.

Channel One will also use spots created for the Partnership and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s antimedia campaign, which include work from Ogilvy & Mather and Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, both in New York.

In addition, the network will spend $15 million to create its own, in-house, 30-second PSAs, which break this fall in the 12,000 secondary schools that subscribe to it. The ads will run during commercial segments on the network.