WorkSafe Victoria has often been a leader in advertisements about occupational health and safety (OHS). It has had mixed success since its Homecoming campaign, as it tries different strategies in the vital social media and internet communication world.
It’s latest campaign, Work Safe For Mum, has been running for around a week before Australia’s Mother’s Day on May 8, 2016. It is one of those ads that doesn’t mention the product it is selling until the end. The challenge with such ads is to inspire or guilt the viewer enough that they not only acknowledge the importance or relevance of the product but take the next act which, in this case, is to pledge to be safe at work.
WorkSafe advised that the intentions of the campaign are to ask
What better way to thank your Mum than by staying safe at work?
The ad encourages viewers to visit a website dedicated to the campaign where various e-cards are available for the viewer to ad their name to and email to their Mother. The cards have a gentle humour and include a pledge to stay safe at work.
The radio campaign is less successful because it is less personal – no eye contact. It also is distanced from the ease of clicking through to a website to produce a pledge.
WorkSafe Victoria should be commended for the campaign, even though the campaign is not as high a profile as it could have been. However, that is one of the advantages of social media – the ability to produced short-term targeted campaigns. Online campaign statistics will be collated and assessed to determine the level of viewer engagement and the number of e-cards sent.
Such campaigns, particularly when aimed at one parent, as in this case must include a similar campaign for the other parent. WorkSafe Victoria advised SafetyAtWorkBlog that it “has plans for a similar campaign for Fathers Day”. It could not do one without the other or someone would have accused them of sexism or discrimination. Curiously at the time of writing WorkSafe had not registered the WorkSafeForDad.com.au web domain. This seems odd and a little shortsighted.
WorkSafe would be silly not to also campaign on staying safe for Christmas but perhaps with a different tack, one that commits to the family. The tag line could easily be
“I promise to stay safe at work so I can be with you all at Christmas”.
This would also coincide with WorkSafe’s usual pre-Christmas campaigns.
The e-card option is cost effective but needs some work as e-cards are often impersonal and something that people send because they require a minimal effort. Tossing off an e-card seems to run contrary to the emotional connection that WorkSafe is trying to achieve through the safety pledges. But perhaps, the internet generation places more importance on e-cards than the effort to send a real card. Given that Australia’s postal service is becoming increasingly disinterested in letters, perhaps WorkSafe has no choice but e-cards.
However consider the potential emotional impact if WorkSafe was to encourage the effort for children to purchase (or make) a physical card from WorkSafe offices or volunteers. (Perhaps this could be a pre-stamped postcard so as to avoid an envelope) Most of the work has already been done but given the increased difficulty in posting a letter, the Mum or Dad would appreciate the pledge even more because of the effort taken. If a child is willing to purchase a card, write on it, and post it, there is a greater strength in the pledge and the thoughts that went into it.
There is certainly time to consider this approach (perhaps the postcards could be free) in the lead-up to Christmas when the posting of cards remains a hugely popular activity.
WorkSafe advised that the campaign will have a physical presence as part of its sponsorship of Australian Rules football at
“this Sunday’s Game of the Month between Nirranda and Panmure where people can make the pledge to be safe for their Mum”.
More of this type of activity would have been good and it seems to be a good fit for Australia’s Father’s Day which is on September 9 and coincides with the last rounds of the country football and netball seasons.
One of the greatest advertising challenges must be how to promote an action or a value that should already be integral to a community’s morality. How do you advertise the importance of a safe workplace? WorkSafe makes a good attempt with its Work Safe For Mum but it continues to focus on OHS as an individual choice or an individual’s obligation. Regardless of this WorkSafe Victoria continues to try when few others are.