Min­is­ter signed off on cy­clist shame ad

The Sunday Times - - News - JOSH ZIM­MER­MAN

THE brief­ing note for a $160,000 ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign de­pict­ing cy­clists as losers was signed off by Road Safety Min­is­ter Michelle Roberts, de­spite stat­ing the videos would rely on so­cial stigma and be de­signed “to make the au­di­ence cringe”.

In Fe­bru­ary, na­tional cy­cling body We Ride Aus­tralia slammed the anti-speed­ing ads for liken­ing bike rid­ing to “so­cial sui­cide” and wide­spread out­rage prompted Ms Roberts to pull the plug on the cam­paign just days af­ter the com­mer­cials aired.

At the time, Ms Roberts con­demned the Road Safety Com­mis­sion for the Speed­ing Slows You Down cam­paign, which she claimed not to have seen be­fore it went live, de­spite hav­ing “specif­i­cally re­quested fur­ther de­tail”.

Now The Sun­day Times can re­veal the brief­ing note for the com­mer­cials, signed off by Ms Roberts more than six weeks be­fore the ads aired, high­lighted “so­cial stigma” as an ob­jec­tive of the cam­paign, which was tar­geted at re­peat speed­ers not mo­ti­vated by fear of in­jury to them­selves or oth­ers.

“Be­ing so­cially os­tracised and dis­con­nected as a re­sult of los­ing their li­cence how­ever is highly mo­ti­vat­ing,” the brief reads, be­fore go­ing on to out­line the cre­ative strat­egy un­der­pin­ning the cam­paign.

“Cam has lost his li­cence for speed­ing. And now he faces the con­se­quences: he’s back on the bike,” it reads. “(The ads) will be de­signed to make the tar­get au­di­ence cringe, but also con­sider the con­se­quences re­sult­ing from his fre­quent speed­ing be­hav­iour.”

The brief­ing note, which in­cluded a re­quest for min­is­te­rial au­tho­ri­sa­tion, was signed by Ms Roberts on De­cem­ber 29 last year.

Her hand­writ­ten com­ments read: “Ear­lier ad­vice re fu­ture cam­paigns please. Pre de­ci­sion on ad­vert cam­paign. I’d like a brief­ing on all cam­paigns pro­posed for 2018 be­fore the end of Jan­uary if pos­si­ble.”

Asked this week how the fi­nal ad­ver­tise­ments dif­fered from what Ms Roberts was ex­pect­ing af­ter sign­ing the brief­ing note, the Min­ster replied: “The in­tent of the cam­paign pre­sented to me was to high­light the more lim­ited trans­port op­tions if you lose your li­cence, one of which was us­ing the bike which the un­li­censed driver may have rid­den as a teenager.

“Some sec­tions of the view­ing pub­lic saw it dif­fer­ently and I lis­tened to those con­cerns.”

The Sun­day Times re­quested the brief­ing note through the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act on March 18 but WA Po­lice re­quested a se­ries of ex­ten­sions and the doc­u­ment was not pro­vided un­til nearly six months later on Septem­ber 4 — 125 days over­due on the usual 45day re­sponse time.

In May, re­sponses to ques­tions in Par­lia­ment showed the fi­nal com­mer­cials had been pro­vided to Ms Roberts’ of­fice the week be­fore the cam­paign went live — although she still de­nied hav­ing seen them.

“I did not see the ads be­fore they went live, nor was I aware that they had been pro­vided to my of­fice,” she said at the time.

“I specif­i­cally asked for fur­ther de­tails which were not pro­vided to me be­fore the ads were fi­nalised and re­leased.”

Be­ing so­cially os­tracised and dis­con­nected as a re­sult of los­ing their li­cence how­ever is highly mo­ti­vat­ing. A brief­ing note for the ad cam­paign, signed off by Michelle Roberts

Pulled: A scene from the ad­ver­tise­ment Speed­ing slows you down

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