The UK’s biggest advertising spender, the Central Office of Information, has started a process to find the biggest brains in behavioural change to join a new panel of experts who will advise the Government on how to get people to act differently.
Rather than taking us on a further step towards an Orwellian distopia, this is actually a pretty sensible idea.
Delivering real and sustained positive behavioural change is the holy-grail of marketing and over the last few years PR campaigns have demonstrated how effective they can be at helping deliver this change.
The public sector often leads the way in developing new theories and techniques for influencing and effecting behavioural change so it’s welcome that the COI is now looking to bring the best academics and practitioners together to help inform and improve future campaigns.
But as I commented in PR Week, the biggest challenge for this panel will be to overcome the limits of behavioural models – which are deliberately kept simple and theoretical. Therefore, it’s crucial that the roster has fair representation from senior professionals who represent current practitioners and that it also recognises wider, non public sector, insight and expertise.
After all, the peddlers of ‘fast moving consumer goods’ (FMCG brands in marketing speak, or selling sweets to kiddies in common parlance) have caused obseity rates to rocket – let’s use their expertise to help us address these trends!