Worksafe Victoria Promo, Case study OBEDIENCE THE SHOCKING TRUTH by Naked Communications

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Industry Public Safety, Health & Hygiene
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Australia
Agency Naked Communications
Released April 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Public Sector
Managing Director: Matt Houltham (Naked Communications)
Project Lead: Aliya Hasan (Naked Communications)
Partner: Adam Ferrier (Naked Communications)
Insights Gal: Brooke Ward (Naked Communications)
Design Guy: Yann Micuta (Naked Communications)
Media placement: Experiential - Event - 13.04.12
Media placement: Broadcast TV - Channel 10 National TV - 15.04.12
Media placement: News - The Age, SMH, The Herald Sun, News Australia - 16.04.12
Media placement: Digital - Numerous - 16.04.12
Media placement: Twitter - - 16.04.12
Media placement: Facebook - - 16.04.12
Media placement: Radio - ABC, 3AW, ABV, Mix/Gold - 16.04.12

Summary of the Campaign
The public service brief from WorkSafe Victoria was to generate PR for a 4-years-old campaign, that was about to be re-run. The TVC’s showed people asking others to do dangerous things at work, and ended with the line, "Would you do what you ask your workers to do?". The advertising was intended to remind Supervisors not to put their workers at risk by asking them to do quite obviously dangerous things.

Our investigation revealed a fresh angle, one that would guarantee plenty of PR.
The advertising activity highlighted the ‘stupidity’ of the requests, not the likelihood of people actually doing them. The real issue at play in workplace safety is that people will actually do dangerous things if asked. Our desire to help is human nature and has been exemplified by the infamous psychological experiments on obedience by Stanley Milgram in the 1960’s.

Our PR campaign softened and translated the Milgram experiments into a contemporary street setting, so that we could document peoples actual behaviour on film to show conclusively how obedient we will be (irrespective of the danger to others), if asked. We supplemented this live experiment with a quantitative survey to further prove the point.

We housed all this content on a newly created Facebook page and encouraged people to take a look and discuss.

The results were phenomenal. The campaign generated national coverage on TV, Print, Online and Radio and took debate about workplace safety out of ‘policy communities’ and into the public domain.

The Situation
Workplace safety in Victoria remains a real issue with around 29,000 work related injuries occurring every year, despite the state having the safest workplaces in Australia. Government agency WorkSafe wanted to generate fresh PR around a series of TV ads that had shown 4 years earlier. There was no new news to support the re-launch of the advertising. We needed to identify a hook in the campaign to generate PR.

The Goal
The goals were to:

a) Extend visibility for the ATL campaign message ‘asking people to do dangerous things’ via PR/editorial support

b) Use PR to stimulate conversation and debate around workplace safety

The Strategy
The strategy was built from a different perspective on the insight into human nature that informed the original advertising idea. We recognised that the real danger in the workplace is driven by the fact that people are inherently obedient. They will do dangerous things if asked by people in authority. This is counter to what we all believe, which is that we would never be so stupid as to put ourselves at risk.

The most 'PR-able' way to dramatise this aspect of human nature was to find a way to show it to be true. We chose to translate the Milgram’s controversial obedience experiments of the 1960’s into workplace setting suitable for 2012. A quantitative survey of employees and supervisors was then used to support the filmed experiment by providing further evidence of attitudes to safety and actual behaviour.

The campaign launched on national prime time TV (6.00pm Sunday night on free to air TV) on the high rating show, ‘The Project’. At the same time the show aired we released all materials and the results of the quantitative research to all other media.

Over the next few days the media picked up and ran with the story. Radio and print fuelled each other.

Influential blogs and Twitter accounts were targeted individually in 3 different areas, workplace safety, psychologists, and marketing. All bloggers again helped propel the story.

The video content created was again seeded via influential bloggers of a more general nature, and in topical blogging sites.

Documented Results
The results have been dramatic.

The PR campaign on a very small budget ($125,000) has generated around $1,000,000 worth of PR.

National prime time TV was secured (a 3-minute feature story).

The campaign featured in all major newspapers in Australia, and across multiple radio stations.

Social media has been extremely active with the campaign stimulating debate amongst safety experts.

Trending number one on Reddit Australia on day of launch.

The video the most viewed chart in the education category on YouTube within 24 hours of launch.

Twitter mentions of the experiment spread like wildfire and were amplified by the various media that picked up the story, including psychologists and politicians - even the Minister for employment and workplace relations.