Tuesday, May 8, 2012

On message?

I've been reading over the transcripts of the parliamentary inquiry into motorcycle safety.  I've found some of what I've read to be extremely frustrating and angering, but here's my pick - speaking is Ms Cockfield of the TAC:

The positive for people who advertise around widgets is that it is usually a sales relationship, so if you have a good ad, you sell more widgets. If you do not have a good ad, you know it is no good, because there are no widgets being sold. In our terms, the relationships are a lot longer term. One of the key objectives of public education from the perspective of the TAC is putting issues on the community agenda and making the community aware that there is a certain issue... We put a range of scripts in [for focus groups to examine]. Some of them will be quite provocative. We are trying to get different reactions. We try to understand what is going to work in terms of putting an issue on the agenda. What is going to work?... The key for all of this is not whether people like or do not like our ads. The key is about the key message they are getting out of it, whether they are likely to change their behaviour or they are at least likely to reconsider their behaviour in relation to this particular issue.

Which raises the question in my mind: who chooses the message?  Who chose this message, the "you choose your speed, physics decides if you live or die" message?  How is this decision made?  How are the decision makers held to account for the messages they choose?

The really dubious - if not deceptive - part of this approach is the fact that their "key criteria" applied by TAC is people "getting the message."  The very fact that I am so furious about this issue, that I am writing about it now and that I am writing to members of parliament about it, would appear to be perceived by the TAC as an indicator of success, that this campaign is working.

Well TAC, here's some news for you:

Yes, the motorcycling community are talking about your latest campaign.

We are talking about it because your choice of message is WRONG.

We are talking about it because you confuse not speeding for safe riding.

Our discussions about this campaign are not an indication of its success, but of its failure.

Your metrics are wrong.  Your message is wrong.  Your attitude is wrong.  It is not good enough.

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