Background on Campaigns & Promotions
What are campaigns and promotions strategies?
- Intervention tools to educate the public about motor vehicle injuries and to promote motor vehicle safety (e.g., using car or booster seats, wearing seatbelts, avoiding use of alcohol and other drugs when driving, sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, getting enough sleep before driving) in your community.
- They can occur through television and radio advertisements, newspapers, posters, billboards, signs, brochures, clothing, stickers, and a number of other communication channels. One of the most important lessons learned from previous work is the importance of using consistent messages across a variety of communication channels.
- Using specific motor vehicle safety messages, campaigns and promotions can:
- increase awareness of potential health risks (e.g., injuries from accidents),
- promote behavior changes (e.g., using car or booster seats, wearing seatbelts),
- improve knowledge and skills related to the benefits of behavior changes and the challenges of lifestyle changes (e.g., lower risk of injury and death) and
- change community norms (e.g., walking, biking, or using public transportation rather than driving).
How do campaigns and promotions impact motor vehicle injury related behaviors?
- Campaigns and promotions are particularly useful in creating community awareness about the importance of motor vehicle safety to overall health and quality of life. Increasing knowledge and awareness is often the first step to supporting behavior change (e.g., participating in driver’s education classes, choosing a designated driver). Therefore, campaigns and promotions may be particularly useful in helping individuals become ready to change their behavior.
- Motor vehicle injury messages work best when they are specific, easily understood, address what behaviors will assist in reducing injury (e.g., driving at or below the speed limit, using car or booster seats), and describe specific steps that will help individuals reduce their risks (e.g., determining a designated driver prior to going to an event).
What are mass media campaigns and how can I use them in my motor vehicle injury intervention?
- Motor vehicle injury campaigns and promotions include mass media campaigns as well as check point interventions. These intervention tools are designed to increase knowledge and awareness about the relationship between motor vehicle safety and injury as well as specific behavioral changes that can reduce individuals’ risk of motor vehicle injury (e.g., wearing seatbelts, avoiding drinking and driving).
- Mass media campaigns translate what are often complicated motor vehicle injury or safety messages into specific, easily understood information. Mass media campaigns can provide messages about a specific change in behavior that may reduce the risk of motor vehicle injury (e.g., using seat belts, car or booster seats, and helmets, avoiding drinking and driving) or provide more general recommendations (e.g., adhering to traffic and safety laws).
- As described above, these campaigns can be used to raise awareness, provide information, or change attitudes and community norms. Media campaigns have been proven to be most effective when combined with another intervention strategy. For example, a media campaign may be created so that the messages aired on local teen stations support the classroom curriculum that is promoting alternatives to drinking and driving.
- One of the strengths of mass media campaigns is their ability to reach and educate large numbers of individuals about motor vehicle safety. If, for example, a mass media campaign in a large metropolitan area addresses 500,000 individuals and successfully increases the use of designated drivers in 3% of the population, then the campaign has impacted the health of 15,000 individuals. Additionally, mass media campaigns can minimize staff time once the campaign has launched because individuals read, watch, or listen to the messages on their own. They can also be relatively less expensive per person if the intervention is targeting a large community. Reaching this many people through other intervention strategies may require more time and funding that is often unavailable. Finally, the messages and materials have the ability to be reused or updated for long-term efforts.
- Alternatively, mass media campaigns (particularly television advertisements) can be very expensive to get started and may seem impersonal to individuals in need of social support. In addition, these campaigns are difficult to evaluate in terms of tracking how many individuals actually received or read the messages, whether individuals changed behavior as a result of the mass media campaign and whether the behavior change has been sustained over time.
What are check point interventions and how can I use them to address motor vehicle injury?
- Check point interventions have been conducted to encourage behavioral changes by creating sobriety check points on certain days (e.g., weekends) or during certain times of the year (e.g., holidays) or creating check points for seat belt use. These interventions are promoted through local media (e.g., television, radio) to discourage drinking and driving or to encourage seat belt use through increased law enforcement.
- The most appropriate messages and ways to communicate those messages may differ depending upon the target population. Campaigns and promotions may be intended for an entire community or they can be targeted to meet the needs or interests of a particular group. For example, the message may be geared toward parents of infants or children (e.g., using car or booster seats) or employees (e.g., getting enough sleep prior to driving long distances). Alternately, messages may be conveyed in different languages and address cultural norms in different communities (e.g., Spanish, Vietnamese). Messages are often most effective if they are geared toward specific changes in knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs about motor vehicle safety that are particularly salient for the group of interest. For example, parents may be particularly motivated to do everything they can to protect the health of their children.
What should I consider when developing messages for my motor vehicle injury intervention?
- Campaigns and promotions can provide a direct message about motor vehicle safety (e.g., avoiding drinking and driving, driving within the speed limit) or may provide indirect messages about changes in behavior, environments, or policies that lead to increases in motor vehicle safety (e.g., checkpoints, laws regarding seat belt use).
- The most appropriate messages and ways to communicate those messages may differ depending upon the target population. Campaigns and promotions may be intended for an entire community or they can be targeted to meet the needs or interests of a particular group. For example, the message may be geared toward at risk drivers, bartenders, or health care providers. Alternately, messages may be conveyed in different languages and address cultural norms in different communities (e.g., Spanish, Vietnamese).
- For different audiences, it may also be helpful to frame the messages positively or negatively depending on the population or content of the message (e.g., benefits of having a seat belt on in an accident, consequences of drunk driving).
- In addition, promotional items may be used to promote awareness of (i.e., branding) the intervention or enhance ability of individuals to engage in desired behavior(s)
With whom should I work to create the best message for my asthma intervention?
- To develop your campaign or promotion or to determine the most appropriate messages and ways to communicate those messages, it is often helpful to work with different community partners. Examples of potential partners include:
- local law enforcement officials
- local licensed beverage industry representatives
- community leaders
- civic organizations/ community organizations
- business leaders and local worksites
- community coalitions
- transportation agencies
- public health departments
- media personnel (e.g., television, radio, print)
- consumer organizations
- metropolitan centers
- rural areas
- advertising agencies