Cut-thru or self-inflicted wound?

Wednesday night’s 7.30 Report (ABC) showed why PR needs to be a lead element of any modern communications campaign. In promoting White Ribbon Day – aimed at eradicating domestic violence against women – the campaign’s TV ads have been slammed by medical community opinion leaders as being gratuitously violent and almost ‘arthouse’ in their creative execution. So, does the controversy used to leverage cut-thru eclipse an otherwise wholly deserving cause?

The Mental Health Council wants the ads withdrawn, fearing its violent images (which they say breach Adv Standards guidelines) could boost copycat suicides. One Medico slammed the lack of campaign pre-testing and, so, conducted his own; the results showed confusion was the dominant viewer impression (albeit from a tiny statistical sample of 24). While the White Ribbon Day CEO got his ‘share of voice’ on national TV, I’m increasingly seeing how media furore can actually make campaigns look ill-conceived or unrepresentative (see the Cadbury’s and Tourism Australia debacles). Couldn’t comprehensive ‘early warning’ stakeholder engagement have leveraged more effective support, rather than portray criticism and division?

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