At regular intervals, fans of public radio must endure the conscience-tugging gauntlet that is pledge drive season. These special times of year often find listeners traveling to or from work, absently enjoying Morning Edition or All Things Considered, only to have their inherent decency as people suddenly called into question. “Why, yes,” any given listener might think, “I do enjoy fine programs like Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me and This American Life; and yeah, I appreciate all the hard work that goes into providing this free service; and well, I guess it wouldn’t be too hard to pick up the phone and donate a few dollars”—and so on until the local NPR affiliate has enough money to bridge the gap between this pledge drive and the next one, offering the listener a few months of guilt-free commutes.
This year, NPR has upped its game by producing a series of animated commercials that literalize the struggle between good and evil that is the hallmark of every public radio pledge drive. On the one hand is an angel encouraging listeners to support their public radio station in return for “warm fuzzies.” On the other is a devil, urging them to fritter away their money on things that are not donations to NPR. What’s more, the angel and devil are voiced by Gillian Jacobs and Nick Offerman, proving that the higher-ups at NPR are aware of things their audience loves and will use them to their advantage. That said, the implied attack on potential donors’ childhood memories of Star Wars has the potential to backfire. Check out a sample spot below, and head here for the full set.