Flemish €250,000 anti-speeding campaign failed as no one understood its message
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Flemish €250,000 anti-speeding campaign failed as no one understood its message

The campaign, which cost a total of about €250,000, did not yield any effect at all. Credit: Belga

A campaign, launched at the end of September 2019, aimed at making Flemish drivers respect the speed limits, completely failed because the message did not come across.

At the end of September, the Flemish authorities launched a campaign, which cost about €250,000, to make people respect the speed limits with the motto ‘Be a control cruiser’ posted on billboards along motorways and broadcasted in radio spots, but an internal study showed that the campaign had no effect at all, as the public did not understand the message.

The message of the campaign, according to the evaluation of the Flemish Foundation for Traffic Science (Vlaamse Stichting Verkeerskunde, VSV) was “not original”, “confusing”, and “without any result”, reports NewMobility.

40% of Flemish drivers even admitted to not having seen the campaign at all, according to the results of a representative survey. The other 60% did not change their driving behaviour, their answers showed.

Additionally, the words ‘cruiser’ and ‘control’ were more often linked to the use of the cruise control function, a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle, than to the decision to respect the speed limits.

“The message was not picked up properly,” said Werner De Dobbeleer of the VSV, reports Het Nieuwsblad. “It has become clear that there was no effect on behaviour. The wordplay on ‘cruise control’ also turned out to be too confusing. We will therefore not continue with the term. When we do another anti-speeding campaign in October 2020, hopefully, it will be with a direct hit,” he added.

“You always have to be careful with putting such things on billboards, especially when people drive by them at 120 km per hour. It may seem like a good idea, but people don’t have the time to think about the message,” said marketing professor Luk Warlop, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

“Advertising agencies like to be creative, but that often doesn’t work. What is most effective in awareness-raising campaigns is emphasising that people need to think about their loved ones,” he added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times