Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Van Putten, K and Jones, SJ, “Because it shows us the consequences”: Why the Australian public believe the ends justifies the means in road safety advertising, Proceedings of the Social entrepreneurship, social change and sustainability: International Nonprofit and Social Marketing Conference, Brisbane, 27-28 September 2007.


Statistics for fatalities on Australia’s roads are alarming with over 1,400 people losing their life between May 2006 and April 2007. In an effort to reduce the road toll, road safety campaigns have appeared on all advertising mediums in Australia and are noted for their use of shock tactics, supported by industry and the Advertising Standards Board. This research demonstrates that in relation to graphic social marketing campaigns for road safety, the general community believe that the value of the message overrides any other unacceptable consequences of the advertisement, such as the effect graphic campaigns may have on children. Understanding the reasons why the public feel that the messages and graphic content of these campaigns is acceptable can assist in ensuring that future social marketing advertisements for road safety are relevant and acceptable to all members of the public.