We’re often so wrapped up in what we’re trying to say that we forget who we’re speaking to.  Misjudging your audience can completely undermine the delivery of your message. Potentially, it could discount your image, causing your targeted audience to alienate you.

 

This is clear when we look at Australian ad campaigns and differentiate the good from the bad. They are frequently criticised for being out of touch with Australians and the recent of spate of bad advertisement campaigns hasn’t helped. 


An advertisement aimed at graduates released by the Federal Department of Finance was instantly mocked in headlines and on the internet for being excruciatingly awkward and hilariously bad.

 

Lines from the advertisement included “I’m so stoked for our presentation to the executives this afternoon”, “Hey, this year’s grads are real game-changers” and “They’ve certainly hit the ground running, or should I say sprinting”.

   
  
 
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  Game-Changers being really stoked about their presentation to executives

Game-Changers being really stoked about their presentation to executives

The bad scriptwriting and over use of buzz words didn’t do the Department of Finance any favours in appealing to the graduate market. Young Australians  were quick to pick up on the clichés and dowdiness.  

 

The $40,000 ad only emphasised the perception they were trying to dispel, that financial public service work is probably dull.

 

However, there is hope. The domestic violence ad campaign, “Stop it at the Start” launched by the Coalition government successfully confronts viewers to become more aware of their attitudes and actions.

 

By appealing to individuals through relatable figures with a twist ending, the campaign confronted its target audience of “influencers”- parents, teachers, leaders, to question their attitudes towards domestic violence.

 

Widely known phrases such as “boys will be boys” and “he did it because he likes you” were instantly recognisable and forced viewers to consider how their own beliefs and actions fit in with domestic violence.

 Screenshot from the domestic violence ad campaign of “Stop it at the Start” 

Screenshot from the domestic violence ad campaign of “Stop it at the Start” 

The ad campaign successfully listened to research that found dangerous attitudes towards women are deeply entrenched, women are often blamed for the attacks against them and the severity of the violence is glossed over.


The difference in the execution of these two ads demonstrates how important it is to know your audience. Speaking to them in the right style and language is essential in achieving the desired message and outcome.

 

By Jennifer Huynh

 

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