Ice ad made twice, confusingly
The Federal Government has been criticised and questioned after it paid for the same anti-ice advertisement to be made twice, 8 years apart.
The government is refusing to say how much it paid for what it call a “hard-hitting new advertising campaign”, which is a scene-for-scene remake of its 2007 ad.
The “new” TV commercial was released as part of an $11 million project warning people of the dangers of ice, or crystal methamphetamine.
The 2007 and 2015 version of the ads both open with a doctor explaining the harmful effects of ice.
They feature near-identical scripts and both show scenes of glass shattering, concerned relatives, attacks on emergency staff, scratching bloodied forearms.
In fact, when the ads are played side by side, the narration and action meet in perfect synchronisation several times.
When Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash launched the campaign earlier this month, she called the new ad a “hard-hitting new advertising campaign aimed at educating families and the broader community about the dangers of the drug ice, or crystal methamphetamine”.
But Dr Ross Gordon, lecturer at Macquarie University and president of Australian Association of Social Marketing, told the ABC that the ad would hit harder if it had not been seen before.
“Running the same campaign over and over again, which we know from research doesn't work, seems like a strange thing to do,” he said.
“Just trying to lecture them to not take ice doesn't work. They don't talk to them in their language.”
The Health Department has reportedly acknowledged that the advertisement was “modelled” on the 2007 version, but was made by a different agency.
The 2015 version was produced by Brisbane agency BCM Partnership, which has refused to divulge how much it was paid for the remake.
Tim Burrowes, from the media news and commentary website Mumbrella, says the reason for doing the same thing twice may be quite simple.
“Without a shadow of a doubt ... clearly it is a deliberate remake. What is less clear is why,” Mr Burrowes told reporters.
He said it was “very unusual, I'd personally struggle to think of other examples of when it has been done before”.
One possible explanation could be that the 2007 ad was shot in Standard Definition (SD), meaning it had to be remade for the newer High Definition (HD) format.
“But, if that was the case, I don't know why they just didn't say that,” Mr Burrowes said.
Dr Gordon said lessons should have been learned from successful anti-smoking ads.
“We had the mass media campaign that tried to demoralise smoking, making it seem like it wasn't acceptable,” Dr Gordon said.
“They're also realistic. They tell people; ‘Look, you're not going to be able to quit straight away but stick with it and here are some services to support you in doing that’.
“People that take ice know that there are also health risks but they still choose to do it and they choose to do it for a number of reasons but until you understand them you won't get any progress.
“The starting point would be to do research and gain insight from the target group and build any campaign around the language and the lifestyles that they're engaged with.”