The more you know
In September 1989, US TV channel NBC started sending a series of public service announcements under the title The more you know.
The announcement would normally include an educational message by a celebrity, followed by a colourful animation.
It is meant to mainly target teenagers, and it’s one of the longest running public service campaigns on television.
The PSA campaign became so well recognized that even when people started simplifying them, everyone still knew where it came from.
The short animation video turned into an image, the image into just a block of text, and as of this day, just saying “the more you know” is enough to trigger a person’s memory.
“The more you know” was quickly parodized, and paired with not-so-helpful or even false facts.
Origin of the meme
The very first “the more you know” PSA aired in September 1989, and featured journalist Tom Brokaw delivering a message of how important education is, followed by the famous-to-be animation.
One year later, Conan O’Brien was the first to parodize the PSA’s on his comedy talk-show Late Night.
Spread of the meme
During the years, hundreds of celebrities have taken part in the show, including two US presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Over 15 years after Conan O’Brien’s Late Night, in 2006, other NBC shows such as Scrubs and The Office made a humorous number of the well-known phrase.
Today, the phrase is so well known that people use it in colloquial speech, particularly after being provided an unsolicited fact.