Do your research!!!

19 Jan

I saw this piece on Huffington Post recently regarding a huge error surrounding a Minnesota anti-drink driving advertisement. Essentially, it is all about having a designated driver to drive you home after a night out. It uses the emotional language surrounding a best friend, which is signified by a guy’s trusty steed. That’s all nice and fuzzy, except this is a case where a marketing team was given a concept, fed back an idea and then someone thought “that’s a nice ” and it went into production, but no one did any research.

Now the drama surrounding the ad is that, apparently, according to Minnesota law, it isn’t illegal to ride a horse while drunk. So now there is an issue of people thinking “well, according to the ad, I can ride home after a big night out.”

Nice one.

I’m currently reading a book by Chris Rose called How to Win Campaigns – 100 steps to success. Rose is a senior former Greenpeace campaigner and is now a leading thinker regarding NGO campaigning. In his book, he gives significant time to the importance of researching a campaign and campaign messaging – something which you would think is pretty much a given, but obviously isn’t put into practice all of the time.

Essentially, a succesful campaign is a long-term, structured and strategised programme and all communications have to be structured and strategised as well. That includes research. I don’t know if this utilised an external agency, but if it did, someone somewhere should have been checking the details behind the concept.

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