Nobody Expects to End the Day with a Horrific Car Crash: Social Marketing to Reduce Traffic Related Injury

Author(s): Ian Pike

Slidedeck Presentation not available (no paper submitted)


Traffic-related injuries are a leading cause of death and disability resulting in significant burden on the lives of individuals, families, communities and society, as well as the health care system. Previous research demonstrates that individual behaviour is strongly influenced by attitudes, beliefs and perceptions concerning a given situation, which may all be influenced by well-developed behaviour change efforts, including social marketing initiatives.

To determine the efficacy of a social marketing campaign to raise awareness, change attitudes and behaviours to reduce the number and severity of injuries, including traffic-related injuries among citizens aged 25–54 in British Columbia, Canada.

A two-year, two-phase formative evaluation comprised focus groups and on-line survey. Phase I consisted eight focus groups of 6-8 participants aged 25-54 throughout BC. The goal was to understand perceptions, attitudes, knowledge and behaviours, and to understand potentially effective injury prevention messages and channels. Phase II comprised on-line survey of 300 citizens 24-54 in May, 2009. Demographic, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour variables around injuries served as pre-campaign baseline measures.
A multi-year, multi-faceted campaign, utilising TV, radio, print, signage, guerrilla events and social media launched in June, 2009, with a focused effort on reducing traffic-related injuries and fatalities. Data from random samples were gathered at 4-month intervals and used to monitor changes in awareness, attitudes, behaviours, together with changes in injury deaths and hospitalizations.

Specific traffic-related initiatives included the development and airing of two 30-second TV advertisements, two 15-second expert spokesperson TV advertisements, numerous community ambient messaging related to cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers, in addition to specific community activations focused on child pedestrian back to school period.
This presentation will present and discuss these various specific traffic related initiatives.

Approximately 50% of the BC population (2 million) was reached weekly, and over 100 million media impressions were generated during the 6-month launch period. 50,000 visited http://www.preventable.ca. Campaign recall increased 45%; TV ads were considered informative, relevant, credible and generated self-reflection with no advertising fatigue. Positive shifts (5–10%; p<0.05) in attitudes and behaviours; significant differences persisted over 5-years in awareness, attitudes and behaviours between those who saw the campaign vs those who did not. Reduction in injury deaths in the target population was associated with the campaign.

This project is the first jurisdiction wide, multi-partner collaboration, to support a social marketing campaign to address attitudes and behaviours to reduce injuries in BC. Based upon the positive results achieved in BC, the Ministry of Health in Alberta has adopted and funded the campaign in that province.

A social marketing campaign resulted in significant changes in awareness, attitudes and behaviours, which was associated with decreased injury mortality in the target population.