Ralston on Govt advertising

Bill Ralston writes in the HoS:

John Key’s memorable line about Labour’s “hug a polar bear” programmes, ineffective campaigns that sound good but don’t deliver results, wryly summed up this Government’s contempt for many of the touchy-feely, state-funded marketing campaigns the last Labour administration spawned.

Much of the many millions spent on these things proved to be a cynical exercise to try to convince New Zealanders difficult problems were being effectively tackled when, in reality, they were not.

We face a childhood obesity epidemic, so run a series of ads on television telling kids to eat their vegetables. Not a single kid will be inspired by it to munch on more broccoli, but the public will be reassured that something is being done.

Can anyone honestly tell me that they have been provoked into leaping from their couch and start running around outdoors by Sparc’s inane Push Play campaign?

The total advertising spend by the last Government was massive. There is always a need for certain Government services or policy changes to be communicated, but one has to especially wonder about so called social isses campaigns. Some are effective, but some miss it.

Sure, some public education campaigns are necessary and do achieve results.

For example, the mental health campaign fronted by John Kirwan demonstrably achieved results in changing New Zealanders’ attitudes towards people with psychological issues.

Kirwan and others involved in that programme have taken the stigma out of mental illness.

Yep that is an example of a really good campaign.

Are we having fewer injuries around the home since ACC started mounting campaigns advising us not to accidentally have an accident?

The answer I am pretty sure is no.

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