The Department for Transport (DfT) has rejected at a claim by the Advertising Association that a reduction in the THINK! drink-drive campaign budget has led to an increase in road deaths (Marketing Week).
The number of estimated drink-drive deaths increased by 26% in 2012, according to DfT provisional figures. However, it must be remembered that the 2011 total was the lowest since records began.
The Marketing Week report quotes figures from the IAM which show that the THINK! budget has been ‘slashed’ by 80% from £19m in 2008-09 to £4m in 2011-12.
Tim Lefroy, the Advertising Association’s chief executive, said the latest statistics point to “tragic cause and effect”, adding: “The THINK! campaign turned the tide on drink and drug driving in the UK, it was slashed in 2009 and we may now be seeing the consequences.
“THINK! is a case-study in effective behaviour change and reflects the UK’s global leadership in social marketing. These stats are a stark reminder to policy-makers that advertising can improve – and even save – lives, not just sales figures.”
A spokeswoman for the DfT told Marketing Week that while THINK! campaign spend was reduced in 2010 to help deliver efficiency savings, that does not mean it is any less effective.
She added: “How young people consume their messages has changed and so has the DfT’s campaign tactics, with a more targeted approach consisting of radio, mobile, outdoor and digital advertising.”
The latest DfT THINK! drink drive campaign launched on YouTube in June. The #PubLooShocker ad has amassed 8.4 million hits and was the second most-watched YouTube ad in its month of launch.
Click here to read the full Marketing Week report.