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Know The Score: Cocaine Wave 4 - 2006/07: Post-Campaign Evaluation




1. BMRB were commissioned by the Scottish Executive to measure awareness and understanding of the third phase 1 of Know The Score: Cocaine advertising campaign among the target audience, namely those aged between 16 and 26, who go out socialising once a week or more often and do not hold an anti-drugs attitude. Specifically the research aimed to:

  • assess spontaneous and prompted awareness of the third phase of the campaign compared to the previous phase
  • measure understanding of the core cocaine campaign messages
  • assess the impact of the campaign in influencing attitudes towards cocaine use
  • examine attitudes to the advertising, including relevance and wear out
  • evaluate whether the wider Know The Score communication objectives were being met (whether the campaign was effectively signposting where help and advice for drugs can be obtained).

2. A total of 443 interviews were conducted over the period 19th to 22nd December 2006. Respondents were recruited on the street and invited into a central location. The interviews were carried out using a self completion multimedia CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) machine. Interviews were conducted in Dundee, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Falkirk and Glasgow.

3. Four waves of quantitative research have been conducted to evaluate the campaign:

  • Wave 1 & 2: pre- and post- campaign evaluation of first phase of the campaign conducted in February and April 2005 respectively
  • Wave 3: post-evaluation of the second phase of the campaign conducted in December 2005
  • Wave 4: post-evaluation of the third phase of the campaign conducted in December 2006

4. These terms will be used throughout the report to refer to the different waves of research.


5. At Wave 4, the level of spontaneous awareness remained high and unchanged since Wave 3. Overall, three quarters (70 per cent) of respondents said that they were aware of some form of advertising or publicity about cocaine. Half (49 per cent) of respondents spontaneously described the Scottish Executive advertising.

6. Prompted awareness also remained high and unchanged; 93 per cent of respondents were aware of at least one strand of the Know The Score: Cocaine campaign. The level of prompted awareness of the Poison Ivy advert was high (85 per cent) and had not changed since Wave 3, despite less spend on television in phase 3 of the campaign. Awareness was perhaps boosted by the fact that the advert was also shown in the cinema for the first time.

7. Two-thirds (sixty-six per cent) of respondents recognised at least one of the two posters shown, an increase from 51 per cent in Wave 3. Around half (fifty-one per cent) of respondents specifically recognised the poster showing a man's heart and arteries compared with 41 per cent at Wave 3. However the largest increase in recognition was observed for the heart being gripped by cocaine fingers poster. Forty-five per cent of respondents recognised this poster compared with just 25 per cent at Wave 3. This large increase in recognition can perhaps be explained by the use of this image outside of the main campaign activity dates. The poster was shown on 48 sheets across Scotland in May 2006, and the image was also used for 'Pubwatch' PR activity.

8. Respondents were shown the campaign material and asked to describe the main message of the advertising. Two-fifths (40 per cent) of respondents said that the main message was that cocaine could affect the heart or arteries. Over a third (38 per cent) of respondents said the message was that cocaine was bad for your health in general.

9. In general attitudes towards the campaign remained unchanged. Half (51 per cent) of respondents felt that the campaign was relevant to people like them. A similar proportion agreed that the advert was the sort that they would talk about to other people (52 per cent), although the proportion strongly agreeing with this fell from 25 per cent in Wave 3 to 19 per cent in Wave 4. Two thirds (62 per cent) agreed that the adverts told them things they did not already know. Three quarters (73 per cent) said that the advertising made them think more about the risks involved in taking cocaine. Two fifths (41 per cent) of respondents said that it made them more likely to find out more about cocaine.

10. The proportion of respondents agreeing that the campaign had made them more aware of where to get further information had fallen from 69 per cent in Wave 3 to 56 per cent in Wave 4, perhaps an initial sign of wear out of the advertising (which has been used for three phases of activity). Indeed, when asked where they would seek additional information about drugs, those saying that they would use the Know The Score website or helpline had decreased since last wave (16 per cent compared with 31 per cent).

11. When respondents were asked if they thought the risks of drugs in general were greatly exaggerated, 28 per cent agreed. However, when asked if they thought that the Know The Score: Cocaine campaign exaggerated the risks, fewer respondents agreed (21 per cent). Similar levels of agreement were also seen at Wave 3.

12. Before being shown the advertising respondents were asked if taking cocaine increased the chance of having a heart attack. Eighty-four per cent of respondents agreed and those who recognised the campaign were more likely to know this than those who did not (85 and 68 per cent respectively). Secondly, respondents were asked if they agreed that you only have to take cocaine once to be at risk. Seven in ten of respondents (73 per cent) agreed and again, campaign recognisers were more likely to know this (74 per cent compared with 59 per cent of those who did not recognise the campaign). This suggests that the campaign has been successful at improving knowledge in this area.

13. Respondents were asked whether they were more or less likely to take cocaine after seeing the campaign. The majority (58 per cent) said that the campaign had not altered their likelihood of taking cocaine. A quarter said they were less likely (25 per cent), whereas 12 per cent said they were more likely. However, when asked what drugs they intended to take in the next six months, just 8 per cent of respondents said they intended to take cocaine. There have been no significant changes in the likelihood of taking cocaine after seeing the campaign since Wave 3. However the campaign appears to have had less impact on the high cocaine exposure group 2 this wave. Just 27 per cent said that they were less likely to take cocaine as a result of seeing the adverts, compared with 37 per cent at Wave 3.