The Insights — S02E06

Screengrabbed from NZ Transport Agency’s YouTube Channel.

Like brands, governments, too, can start the talk about change. In fact, their mandate is about changing the status quo for the better. Yet it is very seldom to see campaigns from them, and sometimes, one must look outside the country to find campaigns and PSAs for the general public. Most messages are lost in the sea of information because the key message is bland and ineffective.

For inspiration, I always take a good look for campaigns from governments abroad.

Screengrabbed from Adweek.

I read an article in Adweek about a New Zealand campaign and its interesting message for its drunk driving campaign. The Transport Agency wanted to target 20-somethings in their PSA about drinking, especially the men who go to drink with their friends.

A lot of campaigns and key messages can be thought of, but looking for interesting insights through research and deeply understanding the human psyche and society should not be overlooked — and that’s what the NZ government did. They got the correct insight that when men drink, sometimes, they fail to look after their friends because they do not want to look soft or too concerned.

Screengrabbed from NZ Transport Agency’s YouTube Channel.

“We learn that getting these guys to intervene — when they likely aren’t sober themselves — is a tough challenge.”

This is a good brief, not to mention it gives a good challenge to creatives.

With such an interesting insight on people, I can’t help but think that a similar campaign can be applied in our country as well. The Philippines is never without their share of drunk drivers and their machismo culture.

Yet the government acts as if there isn’t enough number of accidents, or the campaigns they do to address is are enough.

“We learn that getting these guys to intervene — when they likely aren’t sober themselves — is a tough challenge.”

The government has not made any significant campaigns about drunk driving, regardless of the current state of our roads. Philippine roads have never been safe as there are not enough campaigns to solve both the root causes and its effects. And whenever campaigns are made, insights that an idea stick are lacking. Campaigns done without a powerful insight embedded in their creatives will only be received as nagging.

But correct insights are never enough, you need powerful materials and good spots to put them. For instance, putting everything on OOHs is probably a bad idea. If the government has such campaigns and messaging like New Zealand’s Transport Agency, putting it on billboards where the drunk drivers are already behind the wheel is futile and ineffective. Besides, they won’t be sober enough to read and understand the message clearly.

Screengrabbed from Adweek.

And videos on social media and TV are good spots to see the message. With people checking on their social media or the TV even during their drinking sessions, these are perfect moments to get it across. If there is a way to target people getting ready for a drink (perhaps targeting people who are searching for liquor or bars) with these PSAs, the message will just come at the right time.

But correct insights are never enough, you need powerful materials and good spots to put them.

Yet we can’t target based on these alone. Some people can drink without the uncertainty of which bar to go to, or which liquor to drink, so we still have to target people who has the capacity to drive, and the demographics of those who can drink in the country.

Screengrabbed from Adweek.

Further research on the NZ Transport Agency has taught me that the government can be relatable, funny, and still make sense. The government’s messages to the public need not to be too formal and too nagging, just like what governments in Australia and New Zealand do. It has relatability, yet their key messages do not lack the dignity it needs to be followed and not ridiculed by the public as shallow and trying-too-hard.

…the government can be relatable, funny, and still make sense.

Looking at the various ads of NZ Transport Agency has also taught me that campaigns seeking the welfare of the people should not make campaigns a one-time thing. NZ Transport Agency has been creating video ads that make sense to the public. Look at all other ads they had from their past campaigns, and see the potential of a government that breaks away from being too old and tone deaf.

There are a lot of issues that can be solved, not just drunk driving or transport woes. With so much insight waiting to be uncovered through research and understanding the Filipino culture, the right creative and message can change people.

Screengrabbed from Adweek.

If you haven’t seen NZ Transport Agency’s campaign, see it below:

Adweek article: