13 March 2008

TV campaign not the answer to alcohol problem

The government's simplistic approach to teenage binge drinking will not assist to solve the problem.

For a start, the Prime Minister admits he doesn't have much data to back claims there is a problem (which there is, if the number of media reports are any guide. And just talking to my teenage children is enough to alarm me).

But what does the government propose? A TV campaign. In this modern day and age of communications, this is hardly inspiring, as any first-year PR student could tell you.

Teenagers do not use television as their medium. All an advertising campaign will do is boost the agency's and TV stations' profits.

What's needed is a well-crafted IMC campaign. However, this will have to be an extremely long-haul program which goes beyond the standard education program. It should even extend beyond the target audience.

As nation, we have to overcome a decades-old alcohol-abuse culture. This will require a massive shift in thinking across several generations.

This post can also be found at http://www.prlab.com.au

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The PR Lab is a consultancy, specialising on research, reputation management, social media, media relations and the development of measurable strategies that produce results. It is run by Dr Greg Smith, a former journalist and PR professional. Greg worked on daily newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. He held senior PR positions in the Australian Defence Force, Sydney Olympics and national not-for-profits. He has also lectured in PR at Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia.