Seat Belt Social Marketing
The wearing of seat belts, motorcycle helmets, and the use of car seats has not always been a requirement. Our grandparents' generation did not wear them or use them. (They were in Prochaska's pre-contemplative level, not even knowing they should wear them.)
Our discussions will focus on seat belt usage. Review the "Seat Belts: Current Issues" article that you read in the studies. It is an older article, but the background information is excellent.
Thinking of the social-ecological models, review the levels at which seat best use is now enforced:
- Individual—marketing targeting individual safety and lives saved.
- Family—children are taught in school, car seats and booster chairs are required to be used at certain ages.
- Community—some cars have automatic seat belt fasteners, car seat safety checks are available, television shows often show actors putting on seat belts.
- Policy—"click-it or ticket" and law enforcement causing extrinsic motivation to change.
Even with these levels of enforcement, seat belts are not used consistently 100% of the time. How can this behavior be changed? This is where social marketing takes place.
Use the Internet to search for "No seatbelt, no excuse video." It was produced by the National Safety Council and the Department of Environment, Northern Ireland (2001). (Warning, the video is a bit graphic.) This video inspired behavioral changes for several individuals. Even ardent users of seat belts who buckle up when riding alone had been known to let children and friends go unbuckled when carpooling if there were not enough seat belts to go around—believing that everyone was safe. After viewing the video, we can clearly see that this is not true. If there are not enough buckles, no one extra should ride in the car. This is what health promotion is about—behavior change.
How is the message's success measured? Is it measured by how many people viewed the video, as many health promotion programs evaluate themselves by number of attended? No, it is evaluated by behavior change. If the target audience didn't change behavior, then the message was unsuccessful.
Think of an "aha" moment that caused you to intrinsically change your behavior. (Overlook advertising that caused you to purchase something.) Describe the event and the behavior changed. What role do you see social marketing playing in your profession?