Canada’s anti-drinking and driving ads are among the most effective, according to a new study. The study, published by the University of Regina, found ads in Canada offer alternatives to drinking and driving, while those from Australia and New Zealand focus on consequences.
“In Canada and the U.S. we are much better at telling people what to do to avoid the problem: have a designated driver, take public transportation, take a taxi, stay overnight,” said Anne Lavack, researcher and dean of business administration at the school.
One Canadian campaign the group studied, Saskatchewan Government Insurance’s “Work Hard Play Hard,” includes a television spot that follows a group of co-workers drinking at a bar and then leaving with safe rides. By comparison, a campaign from New Zealand included in the study is uncompromisingly called “If You Drink then Drive, You’re a Bloody Idiot.”
The researchers compared ads and other communication from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Of the countries surveyed, Canada has the highest number of different anti-drinking and driving campaigns. Each campaign was studied according to the “protection motivation theory,” which emphasizes that campaigns need to both show the negative results of poor choices and offer reasonable alternatives.
“To be persuaded to take action, people have to feel that they are vulnerable and that this could really happen to them,” said Lavack. “They also have to believe that the action being recommended is going to work. In other words, when they receive advice about how to avoid drinking and driving, they have to believe that they will be able to carry it out.”
Lavack is presenting the group’s findings at the World Marketing Congress this week in Norway.