If you’ve been anywhere near a TV over the past few weeks, chances are you’ve seen the Federal Government‘s latest health campaign aimed at tackling Ice addiction.
The TVC is a “hard-hitting” spot that shows the very real effects the drug can have on people – including psychotic episodes, self-harm, and familial destruction.
It’s vivid. It’s confronting. It’s raw. And if it feels a wee bit familiar, you’re absolutely not mistaken.
As it turns out, the “new” ad that the Government has commissioned is quite literally a shot-for-shot remake of an anti-ice TV ad that ran on Australian screens back in 2007. It’s not a close resemblance – it’s an exact copy.
Here’s the new ad currently running on TV.
And here’s the original 2007 version.
What’s even more curious is the Health Department touted the ad as part of a new $11million campaign – but they refuse to name exactly how much was spent on the new TV ad.
Producing agency BCM Partnership also refused to state how much money was spent on the ad, which the Health Department admits was “modelled” on the one that ran on Australian TV from 2007 until 2009.
In a statement, the Health Department claimed that:
“[The campaign was] recently retested amongst young people and parents with the strategic approach, messaging and harms found to be still highly credible. The original campaign has not run since 2009. (It was taken off air by the former government) [and it had been] re-developed to incorporate a regional focus and new imagery to better reflect the impact of ice on the broader community. It also provides a range of new advertising materials for online and social media channels – elements which were not possible in the original campaign. These are essential to reach today’s youth given their current media consumption habits have changed so significantly from 2007.”
mUmbrella director Tim Burrowes was at a loss to explain the motivations for the remake – a strategy for which he could not recall other examples – theorising that it potentially could have been done to reproduce the old ad in High Definition rather than the old ad’s Standard Definition, despite the majority of Australian broadcast TV not being shown in HD – “But if that was the case, I don’t know why they just didn’t say that.”
As for costs, Burrowes estimated that the new ad more than likely would have set the Government back “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” and wondered aloud “Could they have not just repurposed the old ad, if it was so effective?“
Now, it’s not that it’s a critical fuck-up by anyone in any position of power – even though studies exist that suggest repetition in health awareness campaigns is not an effective tool – it’s just that it’s really, really weird.
Like, super weird.
It’s literally the same ad.
What’s the angle? What are you trying to get at? What’s the benefit of having two of the same thing?