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Marty Jackley Alcohol PSA Lost in Stiff Delivery, Fakey Marketing Frosting

Marty, Marty, Marty—you and I could make better TV than this. 

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley sits down with Jessica Shyba, a New York blog-type person, to talk about how to talk with kids about alcohol.

Apparently Ms. Shyba is manufacturing the same inauthentic public service announcements with other AGs, like Wisconsin’s Brad Schimel:

AG Schimel appears to have practiced with the cue cards a few extra minutes. But there is no “Jessica’s Coffee Chat,” there was no break before which any discussion took place, there is no “Responsibility Room,” there is no guy named Ralph or anyone else Tweeting scripted questions.

And calling Marty Jackley “General” sounds like an invitation to another veterans’ protest. There’s a little uncertainty about the protocol, but looking at an attorney general and calling him “General” sounds unusual, if not wacky.

Apparently nineteen AGs rotated through four different alcohol awareness messages. You can check who repeated whom on the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility YouTube channel. I’ll leave my critique at this: There appears to have been no thinking in production about the watering down of the message that happens when some brilliant marketer thinks everything sounds better fluffed up with fake chat about a non-existent interactive social media program with animated coffee cups clinking in metaphorical sobriety. With a little more practice and coaching, AG Jackley could have cracked out this same message with less frou-frou and more gravitas in thirty seconds, perfect for a nice tight TV spot talking directly to South Dakotans, not a fake TV host who probably can’t pronounce Pierre.

The website mentioned in these fakey PSA’s,, does exist. It lists stats about DUIs and youth alcohol consumption that show South Dakota has reduced alcohol-impaired driving fatalities much more than the national average. While our alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100K population were 50% higher than the national rate, such fatalities among young people under 21 make up only 8.3% of all youth fatalities in South Dakota, compared to 25% among youth fatalities nationally.


  1. Mike H 2015-04-14 21:25


  2. Lynn 2015-04-14 21:27

    This was a terrible PSA! Did South Dakota taxpayers pay for this production? PSA from a New York blog? I thought Lawrence & Schiller had a no bid exclusive on everything media related.

    Marty relax! Get that board off your back, don’t look like your constipated and ditch the teleprompter. It’s a short enough script to memorize, have eye contact with the host or camera and pretend your having a conversation.

    This could be practice for your run for Governor in 2018 where you will have real competition unlike like your run for AG in 2014.

  3. John 2015-04-14 22:01

    ROTFLOL. Plastic-man Marty and his pal Jessica can read a teleprompter, original thought is optional. Here’s what works for a society, and for me – now with 3 kids in their 30s. Make the drinking age 12-14, – well prior to being legally able, or being able to afford to drive – check the successful experience of the 750-million in the first world nations of Europe. Yes, have early and continuous conversations about it with the kids to include placing newspaper clippings of accidents that killed or maimed drunk teenagers and young adults on their plates prior to dinner. Talk the lesson at dinner, quickly move to more enjoyable conversation to show you’re glad they’re there and you enjoy their company and near-adult conversation and value them and their presence and input. Live an example by trading as designated driver with your life partner or alternatively limit the driver to one. For with kids it is what we do and not what we say that matters.
    None the courts’ BS “treatment” matters – focus like a laser on choices & behavior.

  4. Joe K 2015-04-14 23:54

    The last 10 seconds of that video is painful… It almost looks like she is talking to a wax figure of Jackley. You would think in his position, he would not need a script on underage drinking – much less look like he is just frozen in fear.

  5. Francis Schaffer 2015-04-15 06:15

    This is what you get with a low bidder?

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-15 06:50

    Readers, I’ll bet we could all make better, shorter, more authentic videos about talking to our kids about alcohol on our webcams. Anyone game?

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-15 06:52

    And I’ll bet each of us could do it with less self-promotion than Jessica Shyba gives her own blog. She should have taken the time to make the snapshot for the video a picture of AG Jackley with maybe a link to a South Dakota alcohol awareness site, not her own face with her Twitter handle. A PSA serves the public, not a self-promoter.

  8. Lynn 2015-04-15 07:34

    A high school TV & Radio production class or even an Advertising class at one of our Universities could of done a much better job than this with our state Attorney General and more than likely saved our taxpayers money. I don’t know what the cost was on this but it would most likely be the big class project for the semester or least it was in my Advertising class. This could of added some prestige to one of our school academic programs and been something for our students and teachers to use as an example of their work while promoting a very important and sincere message.

  9. Bob Newland 2015-04-15 08:02

    Lynn, it’s “you’re” when you mean “you are.” And it’s “…could HAVE added some prestige….”

  10. Lynn 2015-04-15 08:08


    Thank you and my apologies! Still not awake yet for some reason this morning and it seems my English has been getting worse with time.

  11. Bill Fleming 2015-04-15 08:18

    Bob, channeling his inner cop. Maybe he has yet to realise that typos on blogs are a victimless crime. :-)

  12. Bob Newland 2015-04-15 08:30

    I subscribe to the “broken English” theory of blog enforcement.

    If you don’t punish the small offenses, pretty soon people will be saying “ain’t,” and s— like that.

  13. Lewis @ Custom Fittings 2015-04-15 08:36

    Christ, that’s a poor PSA. That being said, I’m sure every parent can do a better job themselves.

  14. Bill Fleming 2015-04-15 08:36


  15. larry kurtz 2015-04-15 08:41

    How’s the wildfire smoke in Hot City, Bob?

  16. Bob Newland 2015-04-15 09:03

    My eyes are burning so badly I can hardly see the apostrophes.

  17. Rorschach 2015-04-15 09:35

    Looks like Marty could have used something to take the edge off.

  18. Bob Newland 2015-04-15 18:31

    The honorific “General,” for “Attorney General,” was first used in my memory by Janet Reno, who was asked by a reporter how she’d like to be addressed. “General Reno,” she replied. At Waco, she showed she meant it.

  19. grudznick 2015-04-15 18:39

    Mr. Newland, isn’t the word “general” an adjective for attorney in Mr. Jackley’s case? He is the attorney, in general, elected to represent our fine state in which you choose wisely to reside. He is, in fact, the Attorney General. No doubt there are many Attorneys Specific that focus on certain areas of law. The Attorney Specific for Weed Prosecution, the Attorney Specific for Porn, and so forth. Attorneys Specific are probably appointed by the Attorney General instead of being elected but they do his bidding.

  20. Roger Cornelius 2015-04-15 19:34

    You might assume that the attorney general is called such because he was elected by the people to represent them.
    On the federal level, the U.S. Attorney General is an appointed not elected position.

  21. grudznick 2015-04-15 19:54

    But Mr. C, he is still the general attorney for the federal government. Hence, they call him the more high-falutin’ name of “Attorney General” kind of like the Inspector General. Or the many Surgeons General serving in all of the states. They are the general top fellows of their area. Like a general officer.

    Sincerely yours,

    blogger general

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-15 20:51

    That comment about “general” being an adjective is one of the points the protocol author I link in the original post uses to explain why using “General” to address Jackley is silly. He’s an attorney, not a general.

    But let’s look at local usage: has anyone ever heard anyone else in South Dakota call our AG “General Jackley”? Has anyone ever called a South Dakota AG “General”?

  23. grudznick 2015-04-15 21:03

    He may be a general Jackley, but he is an attorney, in general. But youse can just call him Marty. Or Governor.

  24. Curt 2015-04-15 21:25

    It’s not common usage currently, but I believe the title ‘General Jackley’ is correct. Check your manual of style.

  25. Donald Pay 2015-04-15 22:45

    I grew up in SD. I never heard “General” as a clipping of “Attorney General.” I’ve heard the term “General” in Wisconsin. It’s very uncommon, though. Most folks say, “Attorney General.” When used as a plural, it’s “Attorneys General.”

    I like using “ain’t.” It’s a good word that adds depth and a bit of a twist. Compare: “He ain’t right!” versus “He isn’t right.” “Ain’t” adds a lot of depth and sarcasm, so you are less likely to think the meaning is that he isn’t correct.

  26. Roger Cornelius 2015-04-15 23:46

    Ain’t a general required to wear some kind of a clown suit?

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-04-16 05:32

    Roger, maybe not a clown suit, but at least epaulets. ;-)

    I like Donald’s note about the plural: that language exemplifies that attorney is the main noun and general is just an adjective, making its usage for address seem stranger.

    Odd: contra Newland, this post on forms of address says Janet Reno did not like being called “General” and preferred “Ms. Reno.” The same post says that referring to the Solicitor General as “General” in the Supreme Court only recently came into vogue under the practice of Justice Rehnquist, while scholars find it lamentable and ungrammatical.

  28. mike from iowa 2015-04-16 08:13

    Renchquist was Nixon’s choice to be cheap justice of the Soopremes. That explains alot. Oh yeah,Nixon couldn’t get Renchquist’s name right.

  29. Bob Newland 2015-04-16 08:25

    In a SoDak public radio forum in 2006, wherein my voice faced off with the voice of then-Attorney General Larry Long over the issue of medical use of cannabis, my voice addressed him as “General Long.” No notice was taken.

    The hapless Mr. Long then moved on to a life of exercise of arbitrary meanness as a circuit court judge.

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