Brown, D., Hatfield, J., Long, L., Nelson, L. And Uebel, T., University of Sydney, Australia
Road Safety Advertising is the bringing together of the 'art' of communication and the 'science' of health psychology with the aim of producing a synergistic approach to the reduction of unsafe driving behaviours. Ideally, advertising art and science should combine seamlessly in terms of having the same objective in the creation of the four formulaic processes involved in the development of advertisements - the market; the medium; the message and the method. The present survey of examined 107 Sydney drivers' beliefs and attitudes related to advertising designed to reduce speeding. Road safety advertising was perceived to be specifically targeting the male 17-25 yr group. Although TV makes up the majority of funds spent in mass medium campaigns, it was not significantly superior to other mediums in terms of impact on self-reported behaviour or attitudinal change. Some dangerous misinterpretation of road safety advertising messages was observed. Fear is the most common method used in road safety advertising, yet perceptions suggest that it is not the most effective. Thus, there appear to be discrepancies between the aims defined by science and advertising practice and outcome. This lack of cohesion between theory and practice may limit the effectiveness of road safety advertising.