Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy

Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:11 pm

I am the first to admit that I am highly sceptical of the effectiveness of a poster telling someone what they should do while waiting for the N0.9 bus. IMO these targeted ads preach to the converted and get scribbled on by those that they target. However I thought I would post this as I have the Man Flu and may have both lost my faculties and over reacted.
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https://www.facebook.com/SafeCyclingAus ... ed_comment

Thanks to our new and existing supporters and the shares from this page, this week we have reached 136,477 people on FB.
Who says you need a $3,500 half page ad in a newspaper to generate interest in cycling related issues.


Brad P
Speaking of Ads, check out @Ads4Cyclists on Twitter - advocating greater driver Awareness & Education for cyclist safety via effective Advertising & Communications.

Safe Cycling Australia
On the whole we believe that advertising to the morons we need to be targeting is at the very least worthless and non-productive. We have yet to be shown figures which give even some modicum of credibility to the claim that targeted education campaigns work.

Safe Cycling Australia
Behavioural change comes from peer pressure, enforcable rules and a sense of moral responsability. Those that most often stand to benefit from a good finger waving on our TV screens or the side of a Bus are the most likely to brush it off.
We hope the Red posters will encourage red light runners to do the right thing, but more realistically we believe peer pressure from fellow bike riders will have the desired impact on Brisbane's roads.
So, to cap off: Public Awareness - yay. Education- not so sure

Safe Cycling Australia
Does anyone else have an opinion on this issue? We know our view on "education" at SCA leans more towards sceptic old Cat Lady these days.


Brad P
The award winning Victorian TAC 'shock' advertising program has contributed greatly to reducing road tolls and raising motoring awareness, recognised widely across the world with local national and international awards. Its not only cyclists whom require road education, but more importantly the greater number of motorists whom require cycling awareness and education to change road behaviour for all road users. Behavioural change is generational, and in Australia we're looking at least 2-3 generations. Ad campaigns that can change mindsets quickly, change behaviour quickly. For more information on the TAC campaign visit:

Lowest road toll on record but the campaign goes on
http://www.tac.vic.gov.au
http://www.tac.vic.gov.au/jsp/content/N ... ageID=1922

Brad P
Education through using examples of behaviour in Advertising, educating young learner drivers, make a component for license training, education through resiting road tests with license renewals every 10yrs, leaflets with registration, etc. Soft 'community' campaigns will never shift cultural change.

Safe Cycling Australia
Our point in of of this is that reckless/drink driving in of itself has consequences. They include the derision of your mates, disqualification, financial pain, jail time and ultimately death.
If a motorist hits a bike rider, it is widely known and reported in the press that there are most often little or no consequences resulting. We've seen it time and again. The reason in our case is that education via media advertising is unsupported by laws and their meaningful enforcement with regards to vulnerable road users. Already this year we've seen that the monetary value placed on the life of a cyclist in the magistrates court totals less than $3500 in 2 instances.

Brad P
And I'd also challenge you when speaking 'collectively' for 136,477 followers to think more broadly.

Safe Cycling Australia
Show us that we should and we'll be happy to do just that Brad, trust us. We fully support what is being done to raise awareness, but without the benefit of effective laws to protect vulnerable road users in Australia, we hold little hope for meaningful change.


Brad P
Follow @Ads4Cyclists and see how 'holistic' Advertising can be effective in changing behaviour.

Safe Cycling Australia
Done :)

Edward H
The fear of advertising is justified to an already tainted audience. But don't knock it to the younger crowd. I think non-shock value directed advertising can help get more, and younger riders wanting to get out there. This in turn can get parents out there to monitor (bubble wrap) little Mary or Johnny.
Don't think too badly on advertising though. If we get better and smarter ideas to the general public, it can help.
We are still waiting to film our little piece, just gotta wait for good weather.
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Leaving aside the comment that "Soft community campaigns produce soft results" - which we and just about every road safety Org on either side of the fence could happily go gang busters on without drawing a single breath, and implies by default that advertising is our lord the Messiah - do you think that educational advertising campigns have any real impact if there is no consquence to ignoring the information they contain?
Put another way, which is more effective? A horrific drink driving ad, the very real possibility that you'll be pulled over for an RBT, peer pressure ie:your mates confiscating your car keys and driving you home, or a combination of all of the above? I argue that education - while it does play a vital role in the grand scheme - is not the key determining factor in effecting the behavioural change of those drivers who see no harm in risking the drive home regardless of the consequences. They are the people these ads are directed at after all, not the rest of us. I think it also gives an insight into the mindset of those we elect. I for one didn't vote at the last State election for Channel 9, I voted for a responsible Government. Stupid I know.

OK, now you can discuss :)
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by BNA » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:30 pm

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Re: Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:30 pm

Facebook is not gonna do it IMO.

Thinking about it I am hard pressed to recall any recent awareness campaigns that I have experienced. Certainly nothing that would register if I drove a car and I was not already a cyclist. Sorry Safe Cycling but FB is likely just preaching to the converted and it is a worry to me if you spin it like you do on the FB page unless you have somehow determined otherwise. Besides if you place value on facebook "Likes" then you have lost my trust in your judgement.

For all the demonstrable problems with drivers coping with cyclists, why DON'T we have some effective media-centric campaigns? They have certainly been effective in many other areas of public policy.

I would rather see some agitation for funds for a media campaign such as you decry than to hear false claims of success.
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Re: Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:43 pm

Looking at the FB page, it is not even claiming a lot of likes. It looks like they are counting spam deliveries. Someone needs a reality check methinks.
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Re: Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:52 pm

Brad - it doesn't seem to me that the 136,477 followers are followers. The paged trumpets 136,477 "reached" which likely simply some of us have forwarded links on to our fb friends. Like a chain letter it gets big but the bulk being those who received it and did nothing with it. I saw 424 "likes" for whatever "likes" are worth.

I appreciate their effort but I do not appreciate being told it is something that it is not. And that's what it looks like to me.
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Re: Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:29 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:Facebook is not gonna do it IMO.

Thinking about it I am hard pressed to recall any recent awareness campaigns that I have experienced. Certainly nothing that would register if I drove a car and I was not already a cyclist. Sorry Safe Cycling but FB is likely just preaching to the converted and it is a worry to me if you spin it like you do on the FB page unless you have somehow determined otherwise. Besides if you place value on facebook "Likes" then you have lost my trust in your judgement.

For all the demonstrable problems with drivers coping with cyclists, why DON'T we have some effective media-centric campaigns? They have certainly been effective in many other areas of public policy.

I would rather see some agitation for funds for a media campaign such as you decry than to hear false claims of success.


We have never claimed any success or meaningful results as a result of the FB page, and we are about more than the social media channels. However, they certainly have served us rather well. However this is not the point of the topic. FB was merely the forum on which the topic was first raised. As a result of the non-FB sections of the OP it should be fairly obvious that FB had little to do with the question. Also, people reached has a different meaning to 'likes' as I'm sure you'll be aware.
The thread merely calls into question the effectiveness of advertising vs laws/enforcement, peer pressure, and moral judgement.
I feel I should also differentiate between hands on training such as a driving instructor vs a billboard.
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Re: Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:33 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:Brad - it doesn't seem to me that the 136,477 followers are followers. The paged trumpets 136,477 "reached" which likely simply some of us have forwarded links on to our fb friends. Like a chain letter it gets big but the bulk being those who received it and did nothing with it. I saw 424 "likes" for whatever "likes" are worth.

I appreciate their effort but I do not appreciate being told it is something that it is not. And that's what it looks like to me.

Yes, as said, we aren't claiming such a large number of likes by any means. So you weren't being told anything that we didn't actually tell you. I'm getting a headache, and this is well outside of the scope of the question being asked. Anyway, as much as I enjoy pointlessly arguing semantics as the next bloke...
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Re: Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:35 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:Looking at the FB page, it is not even claiming a lot of likes. It looks like they are counting spam deliveries. Someone needs a reality check methinks.

Hmmm. Maybe slow it down and say the words out slowly as you read them? Seriously Colin.
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Re: Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:46 am

Lets get this back on track shall we?

[quote][For all the demonstrable problems with drivers coping with cyclists, why DON'T we have some effective media-centric campaigns? They have certainly been effective in many other areas of public policy./quote]

Thats most likely due to the fact that they've been supported by public policy.
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Re: Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby trailgumby » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:27 am

Carrots don't work unless there's an accompanying stick, and the immediate prospect of the stick being used.

Unless there is legislation, penalties and enforcement to accompany the education campaign, it's impact will be transitory.
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Re: Public education campaigns via advertising. Effective?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:32 am

The 2nd Womble wrote:Thats most likely due to the fact that they've been supported by public policy.


I am only guessing that are alluding to something like it is not much on the radar of the public - politicians, BBQ discussions, agencies, funding agencies.

Which it isn't. Other than the occasional and adhoc media beatup on something. So somehow how do we get it onto the radar? How have other issues not getting due attention turned that around?

Chicken and egg situation where we need attention in order to get some funding with which we can generate some discussion.

(Correction - BBQ discussions are there but focussed only on ignorance and how bad all cyclists are and all cyclists should be drowned at birth, etc.)
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