These "interventions are strategies that target whole communities in order to build public resources and attend to the factors that contribute to child maltreatment" (Holzer et al. 2006 p 3). In NAPCAN's 2006 campaign, the organization was promoting parental education through social marketing. NAPCAN's campaign is directed at individuals in order to bring awareness of how their parenting can negatively impact their children.
One of the biggest strengths the campaign boasted was its price tag. The cost effectiveness of social media is a major strength to the overall campaign. Prevention programs are often less likely to be rigorously funded and supported by government agencies and institutions, with most funding coming only for short periods of campaign management (Tomison 1998). As a result, social media serves as an extremely beneficial platform because of its cost effective nature. The cost of the campaign is much less than other forms of media, and thus is a major strength.
Moreover, another strength is the use of a broad strategy that appeals to a wide audience. The campaign does not limit itself by isolating a very small target audience, but rather appeals to parents in general. Most social marketing campaigns either rely on a positive emotional connection to the message, or one of fear, where the individual is shocked into producing the desired change in behavior. NAPCAN's ad is clearly a shock to many parents, who might then be prompted to examine and possibly adjust their own behaviors based on what they had seen.
Still, there are some issues that could be improved from an internal standpoint. There is no clear link to other supportive services -- no mentioning of other programs NAPCAN offers within the context of the actual ad that is at the center of the campaign. As such, audience members may want to know more about what they can do to change their behaviors, but are forced to go search for such information elsewhere. The Youtube page does not have clearly defined links to NAPCAN's website or any of its other programs. As such, it is not using the integrated approach that further supports social media strategies. Including more information in the side bar of the Youtube video, along with more identifiable links to NAPCAN's website and other programs would help strengthen the campaign's approach and support it with more integrated elements.
Social "media present the opportunity to communicate to large numbers of people and to target particular groups of people" (Saunders and Goddard 2002 p 2). This allows the campaign to open up to not only parents in Australia, but also around the world. Even more beneficial, Youtube does not have time constraints on how long videos can run. Thus, NAPCAN can keep the campaign up for the world to see for years to come, and can continue to reference back to it in future campaigns. This further maximizes the cost effectiveness of the campaign as a whole and creates new opportunities in the future.
Again, there are still issues that could threaten the overall effectiveness of the campaign. More abstract concept how behavior has been changed -- this means that the campaign's success will be harder to evaluate. There is little empirical research on how use of social media strategies has actually impacted the prevention of child abuse, and so evaluating its success will be difficult.
There are several types of evaluation of campaigns. Process evaluations "investigate whether a program is doing what it intended to do in a consistent fashion" while impact evaluations "measure the direct effect of a program according to its operational aims and objectives" (Holzer et al. 2006 p 5). Moreover, an outcome evaluation "attempts to measure the direct consequences of the program under investigation on the underlying goal" (Holzer et al. 2006 p 6). All three are typically used in evaluating the success of advocacy programs, but because of the abstract nature of this campaign, it would be difficult to implement such a cohesive analysis. In order to strengthen the ability to more successfully evaluate the campaign, analysis would need to focus on one method, how well the campaign succeeded in raising awareness. Thanks to the listing of views on Youtube, this is the only method which can actually provide any sort of measurable outcome with any sort of validity. This method of evaluation would focus on the systematic measurement of Youtube views in order to record how well the campaign is doing in spreading awareness of the issue.
Overall, NAPCAN's innovative use of social media is an added benefit to its advocacy programs aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect. It is cost effective and successful at reaching a wide target audience, thus helping expose the general message to a greater population for a longer period of time. Still, there are some weaknesses and threats that could be better addressed to increase the efficiency of the campaign.
Barth, Richard P, 2009. Preventing child abuse and neglect with parent training: Evidence and opportunities. Future of Children, 19(2), 95-119.
Horsfall, Briony, Bromfield, Leah, and McDonald, Myfanwy, 2010. Are social marketing campaigns effective in preventing child abuse and neglect? National Child Protection Clearinghouse Issues, 32(2010), 1-28.
Holzer, Prue J., Higgins, Jenny R., Bromfield, Leah M., Richardson, Nick and Higgins, Daryl, 2006. The effectiveness of parent education and home visiting child maltreatment prevention programs. National Child Abuse Prevention Clearinghouse Issues, 24(Autumn 2006), 1-24.
Kaplan, Andreas M. And Haenlein, Michael, 2010. Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons, 53(2010), 59-68.
NAPCAN, (2006). Children see, children do. Youtube. Web. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JfHB2cruJU
Rheingold, Alyssa a., Campbell, Carole, Self-Brown, Shannon, de Arellano, Michael, Resnick, Heidi, and Kilpatrick, Dean, 2007. Prevention of child sexual abuse: Evaluation of a community media campaign. Child Maltreatment, 12(4), 352-363.
Saunders, Bernadette J. And Goddard, Chris, 2002. The role of mass media in…