Before developing a new media strategy for 2015, WorkSafe asked a research team to learn more about whether mass media health and safety campaigns were effective in shifting public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.

This research was prompted by WorkSafe's preparations for a new workplace safety and prevention campaign to promote the benefits of returning to work after injury or illness.

A research team was assembled under Dr Sharon Newnam of the Monash Injury Research Institute to review similar mass media campaigns internationally, with the objective of informing WorkSafe's ongoing media strategy.

In addition to addressing the question of whether population mass media campaigns were effective in shifting attitudes, informing knowledge and changing behaviour in a community, the team also identified the factors that contributed to a campaign's success or failure across those elements.

Where to now?

This team produced a final report on the topic, concluding that the evidence around behaviour change and mass media campaigns is ambiguous.

The report identifies the various factors that impact on the success of a media campaign. These factors include whether the campaign is multi-faceted (accompanied by environmental strategies, policies/legislation or economic incentives), the advertising approach, and the timeframe.

The report concludes that the key to a successful media communication strategy sat in considering all of these factors, alongside target behaviour and population.

These recommendations were considered by WorkSafe, informing the development of their multifaceted "Getting Back" campaign, which was launched in May 2015.