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The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit has undertaken many studies evaluating the communications programmes of various clients, including the Alcohol Advisory Council's television advertising.

For the Alcohol Advisory Council:

For other clients:

Formative evaluation (pretesting) of communication materials

A key part of the evaluation of the Alcohol Advisory Council's communication programme has been the formative evaluation (pre-testing) of advertisements during their developmental phase to increase the likelihood that the final advertisement will achieve its objectives.

Since 1992 these formative evaluation studies have included both Maori and non-Maori components, with the Maori components being undertaken by Maori researchers from Whariki, the Maori research group within the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit. There has also been formative evaluation of posters. These formative evaluations usually involve approximately 30 individual interviews with members of the target group. Small group discussions are often also used by the Maori researchers, as this is a format that Maori often feel more comfortable with. Semi-structured interview schedules are used that allow the respondents' answers to be recorded verbatim. The analysis involves identifying the key themes and issues emerging.

Researchers: Francesca Holibar, Allan Wyllie and other contract researchers.


Qualitative research of finished advertisements

In 1992 as part of the evaluation of the Alcohol Advisory Council's communication programme the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit conducted an in-depth qualitative study of the first two advertisements developed for the host responsibility campaign.

Feedback on the campaign indicated that the main comic character, Col'n Carpenter, was not as well received as in previous Alcohol Advisory Council commercials in which he had featured. The advertisements had been changed considerably from the versions assessed in the formative evaluation, so it was decided that a qualitative study on the finished commercials would be appropriate. The qualitative research was undertaken to gain a greater understanding of individuals' feelings and impressions of responsible hosting, as defined in the campaign, and to examine in more detail responses to the use of Col'n Carpenter. As a result of the research it was recommended that he not be used in further host responsibility advertisements.

Researchers: Francesca Holibar, Andrew Thomson, Allan Wyllie


Assessing response to campaigns

A key component of the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit's communications evaluations for the Alcohol Advisory Council has been to assess responses to campaigns after an initial period on television.

Where a sector of the general public have been the target group, telephone surveys have been undertaken, usually with a sample size of 1000. These have been ad-hoc surveys, so as to specify a greater number of call backs and a more national sample than is possible as part of a market research omnibus survey. However, these ad-hoc surveys used a market research company field force to collect the data as the small number of questions meant that use of the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit's CATI telephoning system would not be economically viable.

The surveys usually assessed awareness of the campaign, appeal and reasons for this, and organisation associated with the campaign. The results were generally favourable, consistent with the use of advertising that had been subject to formative evaluation. The one campaign that was not subject to formative evaluation was shown by subsequent research to have been poorly received (Wyllie & Casswell 1992).

Researchers: Allan Wyllie, Francesca Hollibar, Aroha Panapa and other contract researchers


Evaluation of host responsibility campaign

The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit has conducted a range of research studies relating to the Alcohol Advisory Council's host responsibility campaign, which was launched in 1991. The host responsibility campaign received a TVNZ/Marketing Magazine marketing award in 1993. The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit's work included assessing response to host responsibility advertising campaigns

Between 1992 and 1996, surveys have identified awareness of the term host responsibility, awareness of the components of it (provision of food etc), and locations associated with host responsibility (private homes, pubs etc). The results show that the campaigns had been successful at building a high awareness of host responsibility and some components of it, although there was still comparatively low awareness of some components.

As part of the formative evaluation of the host responsibility campaigns, the Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit completed an annotated bibliography of the New Zealand and international literature on the topic of host responsibility/server intervention.

A 1992 survey of 642 drinkers aged 18-45 years was undertaken to identify host responsibility practices they had observed or partaken in, for a range of different drinking locations. The interviews were undertaken using the Unit's computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system, with a response rate of 79%. Larger private gatherings (five or more people) and pubs accounted for the largest proportion of all drinking that would result in blood alcohol levels estimated at over 80 and 120 (80 is the legal limit for driving). It was gatherings, particularly larger ones, at private homes that accounted for the greater proportion of those who reported drinking and driving. Sports clubs were also an important source of drinking drivers. While some host responsibility practices were being implemented at the time of the survey, some other practices were seldom mentioned by the respondents.

Approximately a year after the launch of the host responsibility campaign, the Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit undertook a study of stakeholders to provide feedback on the host responsibility campaign and suggestions for the future. This was based on telephone interviews with ten national level host responsibility players (members of the national working party and liquor industry), six Maori community workers (using a Maori researcher), twenty-two community health promotion workers, ten licensing inspectors, and twenty-seven hotel, tavern or nightclub managers. The interviews were taped and transcribed prior to analysis.

These stakeholders felt that mass media advertising would be an important part of any future campaigns, and that there could be value in shifting the focus to make the public more aware of how the concept of host responsibility related to licensed premises. In particular there was thought to be poor public awareness of the liabilities faced by commercial hosts. The research led to a recommendation that Maori should have input into the campaign at a local level and have the resources to develop their own campaign. Another recommendation was the importance of acknowledging those licensed premise managers and staff who are practising good host responsibility. Rural and low socio-economic areas were seen as most resistant to the concepts. Among other findings was a wide-spread concern about practices in sports clubs and night clubs.

The recommendations from this research led to an Alcohol Advisory Council campaign to raise public awareness of the legal consequences of bar staff serving drunk patrons. The campaign included a television advertisement and posters and leaflet for bar staff listing signs of intoxication. This campaign was preceded and followed by surveys measuring public awareness (from 1993 to 1996), especially among those who drank at pubs and clubs. The proportion who said they 'knew for sure' that managers could be fined for selling alcohol to someone who was intoxicated rose from 27% to 65% between the surveys.

Since the campaign also targeted managers and staff of licensed premises, 90 managers were interviewed to assess their response. They were asked about their perceptions of patron response, contact with agencies involved in host responsibility and enforcement at the local level, and perceptions as to the risk of prosecution for serving intoxicated patrons. While the campaign was well received, these respondents reported poor distribution of posters and little visible increase in police enforcement to support the campaign.

A second stakeholder study was undertaken in mid-1995 to assess the profile and pracrtices of host responsibility on licensed premises. Interviews were conducted with licensees and managers from a range of licensed premises, as well as police and public health and community workers, including Maori community workers. Between 1993 and 1955 three surveys were undertaken with managers of licensed premises in Southern and Western Auckland to examine host responsibility practices. As well as interviews with the managers, environmental audits of the premises were undertaken.

Host responsibility iissues were included in the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit's national alcohol survey in 1995, and are being monitored in annual Auckland alcohol tracking surveys (see Alcohol Tracking Surveys). 14-19 year olds are seldom being refused sales of takeaway alcohol or entry to or service in licensed premises. 38% of 14-19 year olds had purchased takeaway alcohol in the previous 12 months and they were refused on only 4% of occasions. The majority of respondents who drank at pubs, nightclubs and sportsclubs thought that drunks would be served in these premises. Police were not very often seen at licensed drinking locations, with their presence being particualrly low in sportsclubs.

Researchers: Allan Wyllie, Sally Abel, Lisa Morice and other contract researchers.


Other ALAC communications research

In 1992 the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit has also conducted qualitative research to identify the best name and logo options for the Alcohol Advisory Council.

This involved twenty in-depth interviews with members of the Alcohol Advisory Council's constituency: seven members of the general public, six from the liquor industry, and seven health professionals. This research had a large input into the name and logo finally adopted.

A further study evaluated possible logos for the Alcohol Advisory Council's host responsibility programme, together with design aspects of the National Guidelines on Host Responsibility booklet. Responses were obtained from 36 representatives of the campaign's targets groups in licensed premises, workplaces, community work organisations and the general public.

In 1991 the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit undertook an evaluation of the Alcohol Advisory Council's newsletter. This was an update of an earlier study and used a mail survey .

Researchers: Francesca Holibar, Allan Wyllie, Maggie Jakob-Hoff


NZ Family Planning Association

In 1992 the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit undertook a qualitative study on influences on teenage relationships for New Zealand Family Planning Association to assist them in the development of a planned media-intensive programme aimed at teenagers.

Twelve focus group discussions were conducted, which covered different gender and ethnic groups , although the focus was on males. A number of issues emerged, including a discrepancy between young people's image of an ideal relationship and the relationships that they and their peers experienced, especially with regard to communication, trust and openness.

Researchers: Francesca Holibar, Allan Wyllie

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