‘Political pressure for Rudd to be seen to be doing something’

A campaign aimed at stopping teens from binge drinking used TV advertising rather than a heavier emphasis on online because of “political pressure for Rudd to be seen to be doing stuff,” the creative director at the agency behind the work has suggested.   

Don't turn a night out into a nightmareJulian Watt, the CD at advertising agency 303, made the comment during a briefing to media journalists about the first year of 303’s Sydney office. However, the agency today insisted that Mumbrella’s detailed shorthand note of his comment did not reflect the agency’s view, which is in favour of using TV in social issues campaigns.

Among the campaigns 303 worked on was the “Don’t turn your night out into a nightmare” campaign. Launched last November by the Department of Health And Ageing, its primary audience was people aged from 15-25.

The TV ads can still be seen on the anti binge drinking campaign website.

While 303 made the ads, they were booked through the government’s media agency, Universal McCann, which last month had its government contract renewed for another three years. As well as TV and online there were radio, outdoor and print components to the campaign.

As he showed the ad as part of a reel of the agency’s work, Watt said in passing: ‘I wanted to do it online-only for that audience but they wanted to do TV because of political pressure for Rudd to be seen to be doing stuff.”

303 CEO Nick Cleaver told Mumbrella this afternoon:

“Your contention that Julian made comment on the government’s choice of media is inaccurate. You are mistaken in your interpretation of what he actually said. Julian said there was “political pressure to do something about a critical social issue” which the government did in mounting a multi media campaign. He did not say there was political pressure to “be seen to be doing something”.

“Julian went on to emphasise the importance of on line campaign component in reaching a youth audience. He also stressed the crucial and important role played by the television campaign. At no point did Julian say we wanted to do on-line only.”

“We believe the media selected for the campaign was entirely appropriate. At no time did Julian or anyone else actually link the choice of medium (online vs TV) to social or political pressure to create a campaign about binge drinking.”

Mumbrella stands by the accuracy of its reporting in its entirety and has a detailed shorthand note which does not accord with Cleaver’s version of events.


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