Executing effective road safety advertising: Are big production budgets necessary?

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure


Robert J. Donovan, Geoffrey Jalleh, Nadine Henley, Executing effective road safety advertising: are big production budgets necessary?, Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 31, Issue 3, May 1999, Pages 243-252. Original article available here


Twelve (12) road safety television commercials (TVCs) ranging in production costs from $A15 000 to $A250 000 (current prices) were evaluated using standard advertising pre-test procedures. The twelve ads covered four road safety behaviours (speeding; drink driving; fatigue; and inattention), and included a variety of executional types within and across behaviours. One ad in each of the four behaviours was an expensive TAC ad ($A200 000 or more). The testing procedure assessed respondents’ self-reported impact of the ad on their future intentions to comply with the road safety behavior advocated in the ad. Just under 1000 appropriately screened motor vehicle drivers license holders were recruited via street intercept methods and randomly allocated to one of the twelve ad exposure conditions. The results showed that while the two best performing ads were highly dramatic TAC ads showing graphic crash scenes, these were also the most expensive ads to produce, and, being 60 and 90 s, the most expensive to air. In several cases, 30 s low cost talking heads testimonials performed equally as well as their far more expensive counterparts. We conclude that big production budgets may not be necessary to create effective road safety advertising.



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