Friday, August 9, 2013

Little Marketing in People Smuggler Campaign


Pity the Government marketers saddled with an expensive mass media campaign to reach such very small numbers. 

They must be scratching their heads and cursing the backroom operatives who dreamed up this campaign to 'win votes rather than stop boats' 

For several weeks ads like this have been appearing in Australian newspapers and broadcast on radio.

They support a recent change to the Australian Government's asylum seeker policies.  From 20 July unauthorised boat arrivals will no longer be settled in Australia but sent to Papua New Guinea or Nauru where their refugee claims will be determined.

Fierce criticism has sprung up about the ads in recent days. The Opposition claims they breach Election caretaker conventions which stipulate what governments can and cannot do once a poll is called.  

Bipartisan agreement is needed when communications campaigns run during an Election period. And in this case there is no such agreement.

The people smuggling ad spend is rumored is be around $30m, a hefty sum for the cash strapped government agency managing this campaign and which has probably struggled all year with its marketing budget.  

There is no issue with ads targeted at environments likely to reach people smugglers overseas or their collaborators in Australia.  I would have thought these audiences are tiny, and already known to the Intelligence services - or at least they should be. 

But how many people smugglers or their accomplices live, for example in Canberra or Sydney, where full page ads are regularly appearing in the metropolitan press. 

Why spend tens of millions of dollars for a mass audience campaign to reach a small handful of people here in Australia and overseas?  The Commonwealth must have other, far less expensive communications tools to send a stern message to these criminal elements?






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