Inspiration and Happiness Help New Zealand’s ‘Keep It Real Online’ Campaign Stay Front Of Mind

There was a time when public safety messages needed to come with their own safety warnings.

Keep It Real Online Campaign

From children dying after being hit by trains while playing on the tracks, run over by cars going too fast or being electrocuted while trying to rescue their kites from nearby power cables, they were grim viewing,

And let’s not even mention the harrowing messages around what to do in the event of a nuclear war. Still have sleepless nights about those.

But that has all changed now, with some campaigns using different emotions to get the message across. The most famous example of this, of course, is “Dumb Ways To Die” – an Australian public service campaign made by Metro Trains in Melbourne to promote railway safety that went viral in 2012.

Cannes Lions winner Dumb Ways took safety messages to a new level, using hilarious and adorable cartoon blobs, plus an earworm of a song, to help make the grim warning a little easier to swallow.

Using light-hearted messaging to make a serious point is an approach most recently adopted by a new public awareness campaign launched by the New Zealand government.

With more young people spending more time online due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the campaign addresses issues such as cyber-bullying, pornography and talking to strangers online.

But what has been the response? Is steering clear of the shock and awe of previous public service announcements (PSAs) the right approach?

We put three of the campaign’s most watched ads through their paces using our emotional testing and targeting tool UnrulyEQ, to find out how well these ads resonated with viewers and what emotions they evoked.

Keep It Real Online

The most popular of the three, ‘Keep It Real Online Porn’, has amassed over 2.5M views on YouTube and addresses the problems that come with watching pornography online.

The ad used a combination of hilarity, amazement, happiness, inspiration and warmth to win over viewers, with 36% (1% over the UK norm) stating they wanted to find out more after watching the ad, and 34% (8% over the UK norm) saying they would share the ad after having seen it.

Next up, ‘Keep It Real Online Grooming’, tackles the dangers of young people talking to strangers online.

This spot used a mixture of hilarity, amazement, happiness, inspiration and sadness to get across the key messages. This mix of emotions resulted in 32% (2% over the UK norm) of viewers stating they wanted to find out more and 36% (10% over the UK norm) stating they would share the ad.

The final spot, ‘Keep It Real Online Bullying’, addresses the repercussions that come with kids being mean to each other online.

The top five emotions evoked in this PSA were sadness, happiness, inspiration, warmth and pride. This emotional mix resulted in the highest brand metrics scores out of the three spots with 42% (3% over the UK norm) of viewers stating they wanted to find out more after watching the ad, and a huge 57% (23% over the UK norm) saying they would share the ad after having seen it.

Which emotions worked best?

All three ads scored above average for all business metrics and the two emotions that stayed prevalent throughout all three ads were happiness and inspiration.

With this in mind, we looked at another public announcement we recently tested for the NHS in the UK entitled ‘Stay At Home’.

This ad also scored very highly across all key business metrics, with 47% (16% over the UK norm) of respondents saying they wanted to find out more and 43% (17% over the UK norm) stating they would share the ad. Interestingly happiness and inspiration were also among the top five emotions evoked in this spot alongside warmth sadness and pride.

Inspiration and happiness were also two of the top five emotions evoked in two of our highest scoring public service announcements; AT&T’s ‘Closer To Home’ which addresses road safety and ‘Together, We Can’ from the Singapore Government which outlines the country’s lockdown rules. Both of these ads scored very highly across all key business metrics with ‘Closer To Home’ scoring 23% over the US norm for shareability, and ‘Together’ scoring 67% for shareability and find out more – two of the highest scores we’ve ever seen for a public service announcement.

We highly recommend considering the use of inspiration and happiness in public service announcements as, from what we’ve seen, they both lead to high levels of viewers wanting to find out more and share the ads with their networks.

To find out more about UnrulyEQ and how our emotional testing and targeting works head here or contact us to arrange a call with our UnrulyEQ insights experts.