The More You Know

The More You Know

Updated Mar 11, 2014 at 12:43AM EDT by Brad.

Added Oct 07, 2013 at 12:28PM EDT by amanda b..

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The More You Know[1] is a series of public service announcements that has been running on NBC Universal programming in the United States since September 1989. Each clip typically begin with an educational message from a celebrity and conclude with an animated sequence of a comet trail created by Paul Johnson. Being one of the longest-running network public service campaigns to date, the PSA series has been widely parodied both online and in popular culture.


The first The More You Know spot aired on September 9th, 1989, featuring a message on the importance of education by American journalist Tom Brokaw. Since then, hundreds of celebrities, [2] including Jennifer Aniston (shown below, left), Zach Braff and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as well as the U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Between 1993 and 2007, the series won three awards, namely a Peabody Award, Gracie Award and a Special Christopher Award. Throughout the 1990s, the spots were parodied on other television shows[3], most notably on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (shown below, right) and Family Guy.


In early 2006, parodies of The More You Know[4] campaign were featured on the TV comedy sitcoms The Office (shown below, left) and Scrubs (shown below, right) within two months apart. Later that year, Usenet user Perkoff on the newsgroup[5] shared one of the earliest known parodies of the PSAs[6], but the video has since been removed from YouTube.

By March 2007, The More You Know parodies began appearing on YouTube and throughout the rest of that year, more PSA parodies surfaced on MetaCafe[8], CreativeCow[9] and Funny or Die] In September 2007, a Plz Account using the comet trail logo from The More You Know was created on deviantART.[12] Beginning in the late 2000s, people began using the PSA logo in image macros (shown below) containing incorrect or humorous facts, many of which have been featured on Memebase[17] and We Know Memes[18] among other humor sites. In addition, the phrase “the more you know” can also be found in the comments on Reddit,[13] or as a hashtag on Tumblr[14] and Twitter.[15] As of October 2013, there are more than 3.8 million search results for “The More You Know Parody”[7] on YouTube and the hashtag has been used in more than 33,000 tweets in a month period on Twitter.[16]

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