Help Forum

Help requested posted on 30th May 2013:

Radio Advertising

Does anyone have any research which shows the effectiveness (or otherwise) of radio adverts to promote road safety messages? Any information would be very useful, though I am particularly interested in messages which promote a specific behaviour, such as seat-belt wearing.

Carol Bagshaw
Southampton City Council

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Response posted on 30th May 2013 by:
Trudi Maybury
Birmingham Road Safety Partnership
T: 01214646210

Radio Campaigns

Hi Carol,

We have done many road safety radio campaigns over recent years and measuring the success/impact of them can be difficult, but we do believe in radio as a good media medium for delivery of road safety messages - especially driver relevant, as you have a captive audience in the car. That said, we have tried to avoid 'serious' messages, as these seem to have the least impact, something quirky or with a bit of positive psychology seems to work well. I have negotiated built-in evaluation with some of the campaigns, ie, the radio station actually speaking to listener focus-groups post the campaign being on-air and seeing what they remember and whether it impacted on their behaviour. All radio stations will provide you with listener figures and demographics for their listeners. If you need any more information please give me a call. Regards - Trudi

Response posted on 30th May 2013 by:
Robert Smith
Dorset County Council
T: 01305 224680

Radio advertising

Hi Carol

I suppose it depends how you measure "effectiveness". We used a series of radio commercials to support the "no excuse" project over an 18 month period. Each of the phases lasted about 4-5 weeks with targetted exposure at peak drive time when the majority of the target audience would be driving and possibly tuned into their local radio station. We experimented with actors doing the voices and then other ads used real people being interviewed and the edited pieces used in the commercials. The commercials ranged from 20 second soundbites to 50 seconds, which is a very long ad. We commissioned two focus groups where particpants were played the various ads that had been broadcast over the previous year. A couple of people recognised the ads but for the majority it was the first time they had heard them. Their overwhelming response was that in their opinion using the voices of real people was far more effective at grabbing their attention than the use of actors and sounds of crashes. In one of the series of ads the real people's voices we used were those who had just been stopped by the police for not wearing a seatbelt or using a mobile phone and a microphone stuck in front of them for their immediate response (with their consent of course). These exposed the futility of their excuses. Another ad featured real emergency services personnel recounting the events in the aftermath of a serious crash they had attended or dealt with. Both these approaches were favoured by the focus group participants. We wanted to find out how effective using radio was in terms of "no excuse" brand awareness recall by asking a large cross section of the population if they knew about the project and if so where they had seen or heard about it. Very few people mentioned radio ads in their responses. Most mentioned signs, posters, news items. This doesn't mean radio is not a good medium to reach a specific target audience with a specific road safety message but our evaluation showed it has to be part of a much larger media intervention where the same message or advice and the brand is seen and heard over and over again. You can hear the ads via this link:
The evaluation report is also available via that link.
What we cannot say is whether the ads increased seatbelt wearing rates or lessened mobile phone offences. There are simply too many external factors that would play their part.
Hope it helps.

Response posted on 3rd June 2013 by:
Ruth Gore
Safer Roads Humber
T: 01482 391458

Radio Advertising

Hi Carol
I’ve used radio for a long time but you have to be very clear what you want from it.
For some campaign you may just want to put out a simple message e.g. “wear your seat belt” to raise general awareness. These are difficult to measure but keep road safety messages on the agenda.

For other campaigns you need a “call to action”. Our Someone’s Son campaign asks drivers to “look once, look twice” for motorcyclists (the message) and asks them to visit our website for further information (the call to action). You can then track your web hits to see if more people have visited during your radio campaign – our always go up during radio campaigns.

We also booked the adverts for the time slots when crashes occurred – so for motorcycle collisions we had a peak during the week days at drive times. We also matched the radio stations audience with the drivers / riders involved in collisions e.g. young drivers listen to radio one type stations, older drivers, radio two type stations.

The Someone’s Son evaluation plan is on the knowledge centre which gives more details of what we did but feel free to contact me if needed.

Response posted on 12th June 2013 by:
Chris Harrison
Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership
T: 01452834158

Radio Advertising

You may wish to look at the following link-
this page is full of research and evaluation of the various Think camapigns.
This is a farely large library of research and evaluation but i can start you off by suggesting you go to the Motorcycling section and open the document titled '2009 post Motorcycle & Speed campaigns' there is a section which looks at the recall of two Road Safety camapigns comparing TV, Radio, Poster & internet ad recal.
Should you have a problem with the link please do email me and i will email it to you.

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