Minister signed off on cyclist shame ad
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