Recently I was given the opportunity to try my hand at some copy writing for one of the campaigns that we are working on here at Aasman. I love writing, but as this was my first time writing copy for radio, I decided to start this process in the same place that I go to for most new projects or queries: Google. A quick search of “award winning radio ads” turned up a ton of great content and I wanted to share two that took different approaches to similar topics. Both of the following ads are attempting to change the behaviour of dangerous drivers; drunk drivers and drivers who use their cell phones. The first illustrates the possible consequences of driving drunk to the person doing so, and the second is more focused on the consequences for those around a distracted driver. Top honours overall went to the Ministry of Transportation radio spot about drunk driving. However, I felt that the spot about talking on your cellphone stuck with me longer. It wasn’t that I particularly enjoyed it; in fact my reaction was quite the opposite as it paints a pretty graphic picture of a horrible tragedy. I’m sure that the “sick to your stomach” feeling was the intention of this spot, and seemed to have worked, as retention and awareness for this spot were very high.

But is this kind of awareness useful? Will it actually move listeners across the attitude/behaviour gap?

Have a listen to the links below if you have the stomach for it. What do you think of scare tactics in PSA’s? Do some radio spots take it too far or does the end justify the means? And what is that “end” — attitude change or behaviour change?


Ministry of Transportation


1 comment

by Margriet Aasman

As I listened to the radio spots, Al was listening behind me… we each had a different reaction to “Deathcalling.” I thought it was clever. Bottomline, you need all kinds of approaches to a addressing a social problem: knock people over the head, be clever, humourous, non-judgemental, make nice suggestions, show benefits to the audience, show benefits to those around them, and the list goes on. And… it can’t stop. Social change is slow. I actually found “Deathcalling” a bit tame. I also found the one focussing on drunk driving a bit soft.


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