The national road safety advertising and enforcement campaign began in its current form in 1995. However, some one-off road safety ads were developed prior to this. What became most different in 1995 was the intensity of the advertising – the television advertisements were regularly on air.
The Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency blueprint sets an expectation of high recall and cut-through for viewing audiences. It prescribes a research-led strategy, from concept development to final production. It uses 'branding' to encourage drivers to buy-in to the road safety message, eg 'Slow down'. It expects to provide support to enforcement and for enforcement to play a key role in reducing road trauma.
Essentially, our blueprint specifies the tone and manner of the communication, which:
The key priorities of the campaign are determined by Government road safety strategies.
The advertising programme focuses on priorities in the road safety strategy 2020-2030, Road to Zero, and it aims to influence and encourage the correct behaviours on our roads.
Each individual campaign has its own objectives. The campaign as a whole works best in conjunction with police enforcement and its effectiveness is determined by a set of intermediate and overall outcome measures. Enforcement, advertising and other interventions all contribute to these outcome measures:
The budget for the campaign is approximately $13–$14 million per year. This funding supports a police strategic enforcement programme of around $300 million per year.
We research and test all of our advertising with the audience we're targeting – from the first concept through to the finished product – to ensure our message is getting across.
We use crash data, attitudinal surveys and qualitative research to develop each advertising brief. This brief defines the issue being addressed, the objective for the campaign and the specific target audience so that each campaign focuses on what will work for each specific audience.
When an advertising brief is developed, it clearly outlines who the advertising campaign is targeting, which in turn defines what language is used. The vernacular in each advertisement is targeted to its specific audience so it is relevant to them, e.g. our youth alcohol advertisements have used the taglines, 'Be the sober driver and take one for the team', and, 'If your mate's pissed, you're screwed'. These phrases are part of the everyday language that this audience tends to speak.
We run all of our advertisements in the places and at the times our target audience are most likely to see them. For example:
We adhere to the guidelines of the Advertising Standards Authority’s advertising codes of practice. Scheduling our advertisements at appropriate times is important because of the graphic and highly emotive nature of many of our advertisements. This is especially important where children are concerned. The Commercials Approvals Bureau has the task of classifying road safety advertisements and recommending appropriate screening times.
We measure the success of our campaigns through ongoing tracking and evaluation of each of the campaigns. This evaluation shows us how effective the ads are with the target audience – we measure things such as message take-out and relevance etc, to ensure the advertising is achieving its objectives.
The advertising aims to influence and encourage the correct behaviours on our roads of the people we’re targeting, and ultimately works to contribute to a reduction in crashes, deaths and serious injuries. However advertising alone is unlikely to affect these reductions – the programme works in conjunction with other interventions, parts of Waka Kotahi and the sector to influence road user behaviour and affect change.
The overall advertising programme is primarily in place to support and justify police enforcement. While an advertising campaign can affect public awareness and attitudes and influence behaviour change, advertising alone does not result in reduced crashes, deaths or serious injuries. Crash reductions are the result of many factors including a combination of engineering, enforcement, legislation, advertising, education and community interventions. Accordingly our campaign supports enforcement activities to help contribute to an overall reduction in crashes, deaths and serious injuries.
Our advertising is thoroughly tested with the target audience before it is produced and is then constantly tracked and monitored to ensure that it’s achieving its objectives.
Estimates of the total cost of road deaths to New Zealand society is around $3.8 billion each year.