Statement of purpose To determine the efficacy of a social marketing campaign to raise awareness, change attitudes and behaviours to reduce the number and severity of injuries among citizens aged 25–54 in British Columbia, Canada.
Methods/approach A two-year, two-phase formative evaluation comprised focus groups and on-line survey. Phase I consisted eight focus groups of 6–8 participants aged 25–54 throughout BC. The goal was to understand perceptions, attitudes, knowledge and behaviours, and to understand potentially effective injury prevention messages and channels. Phase II comprised on-line survey of 300 citizens 24–54 in May, 2009. Demographic, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour variables around injuries served as pre-campaign baseline measures. A multi-year, multi-faceted campaign, utilising TV, radio, print, signage, guerrilla events and social media launched in June, 2009. Data from random samples were gathered at 4-month intervals and used to monitor changes in awareness, attitudes, behaviours, together with changes in injury deaths and hospitalizations.
Results Approximately 50% of BC population (2 million) were reached weekly, and over 100 million media impressions were generated during the 6-month launch period. 50,000 visited http://www.preventable.ca. Campaign recall increased 45%; TV ads were considered informative, relevant, credible and generated self-reflection with no advertising fatigue. Positive shifts (5–10%; p < 0.05) in attitudes and behaviours; significant differences persisted over 5-years in awareness, attitudes and behaviours between those who saw the campaign vs those who did not. Reduction in injury deaths was associated with the campaign.
Conclusions A social marketing campaign resulted in significant changes in awareness, attitudes and behaviours, which was associated with decreased injury mortality.
Significance and contributions This project is the first jurisdiction wide, multi-partner collaboration, to support a social marketing campaign to address attitudes and behaviours to reduce injuries in BC. Based upon the results in BC, Alberta has adopted the campaign in that province.
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