Celebrity endorsement of the Day of Silence

Last Friday marked the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLEN)‘s 2008 Day of Silence, an annual event where students of all ages across the country refuse to speak all day to symbolize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students who are in the closet out of fear of discrimination. This year’s Day of Silence was unusual in that was dedicated to a person, Lawrence King, an eighth grader who was shot twice in class because of his sexual orientation and gender identity.

I came across two public service announcements on The Cycle by PR Wire for the occasion, each featuring celebrity endorsements. The first was by Lance Bass of *NSYNC, a celebrity who announced within the last couple of years that he’s gay. The other celebrity I thought was a clever choice, Larry King of Larry King Live, chosen because he shares the same name as the child the day was dedicated to.

The PSAs are pretty different. One thing that struck me about Lance Bass’ is the simplicity. Larry King’s was also simple, just his reading from a script to the camera. You can view Lance Bass’ here and Larry King’s here.

In my public relations campaigns course, my group often discussed the value of celebrity endorsement. I’m not sure if it’s always effective, as it’s kind of getting old for people in my generation. However, a measurement of these PSAs success was their newsworthiness that caused journalists and bloggers to write about them.

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