The world champion San Francisco Giants this week became the first professional sports team to fashion a PSA for the "It Gets Better" national anti-homophobia campaign. "There's no place in society for hatred and bullying against anyone," says pitcher Barry Zito, one of five Giants who appear in the 60-second spot. The players look right into the camera and read their lines. This no-frills approach makes the message more direct and personal than, say, a big-budget commercial with lots of production values. Contrast the Giants' approach with last year's controversial mini epic by Ogilvy London for the Football Association in the U.K. That over-the-top, expletive-laden 90-second film, which focused on an uber-hater who harasses everyone in sight, was certainly memorable. But I doubt it made much of impact on abusers or emboldened ordinary folks to take any sort of action against intolerance. It was perhaps too loud and dramatic for its own good. Conversely, the quiet simplicity of the Giants spot works in its favor, casting the players as mentors or compassionate older brothers. It's an effective bully pulpit to deliver a message of empathy and hope, and by not overpromising, lends credibility to the premise that "it gets better" for harassed kids. Let's hope other teams step up to the plate soon and support the cause.
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