Measuring the half-life of advertising awareness for drink-driving, speedand concentration themes in Melbourne and country Victoria, 1989-1997

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Technical Report 002/98

Authors: M. Shtifelman, M. Cameron, K. Diamantopoulou


In November 1989, Grey Advertising was approached by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) to develop a campaign that would make road safety a cut-through social issue. Their aim was to develop a style of advertising that had the potential to provoke all drivers to actively rethink their attitude towards drink-driving and speeding, regardless of age or sex. Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) obtained comprehensive information about TAC campaigns from Grey Advertising including details of the campaign names and themes, specific problem area targeted, launch dates and television exposure by advertisement name and week for the eight years 1990 to 1997.

The objectives of this study were:

  • To investigate if half-lives of seven weeks for Melbourne and six weeks for country Victoria for the Drink-Driving theme are still valid, for the period November 1989 to December 1997.
  • To calibrate the half-lives for the Speed and Concentration themes and to reconsider the assumption that a five week half-life was an acceptable assumption.

The key conclusions were as follows:

  • There was an evidence of a decrease in the half-life for the Drink-Driving theme during 1995 to 1997 for both Melbourne and country Victoria compared with earlier years.
  • This evidence suggested a need for the recalibration of the average half-life for the Drink-Driving theme for the total period from November 1989 to December 1997. The findings of the recalibration suggested half-lives of 4 weeks and 3 weeks for Melbourne and country Victoria, respectively.
  • The half-life of the Speed theme was calibrated for April 1990 to December 1997 for Melbourne and country Victoria. The estimated half-life was 4 weeks for Melbourne and 5 weeks for country Victoria.
  • The study was unable to estimate the half-life for the Concentration theme and was unable to establish a strong relationship between Concentration advertising and recall using the existing information and current methodology.

Sponsoring Organisation: Baseline Research Program - Department of Justice, Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads.