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Media in Prevention – Successful advertising for more safety and health at work

Please find below a summary of thoughts and links explaning and showing the possible power of media in your prevention work.
If you have question please do not hesitate to contact us.

1. Those who have a message, need media

Each communication going beyond the "face to face" situation makes use of different media. In communication, each warning and information sign and each printed safety and health regulation is a medium. The use of media in the field of occupational safety.

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What we are interested in today are the various new possibilities of modern audiovisual media, specifically those made available by the virtual online world. Films and multimedia applications are indeed an important instrument in occupational safety. No matter if it is about risk awareness or complex safety issues – moving images and interactive media support the knowledge transfer and help to raise awareness.

How can we use these new media as best as possible for a successful prevention?

The Canadian communication scientist and philosopher Marshall McLuhan said that “the medium is the message”. However, the application of new media guarantees by no means that the messages are understood or internalised.

In a single sentence, Konrad Lorenz has brought this to the point: “Said is not heard, heard is not understood, understood is not agreed, agreed is not done, done is not properly done.”

So, the message has to be received. But how?

See a first example:


That is certainly all right and important but: filmed texts are not much more than texts.

Usually, top-to-bottom strategies don’t reach the persons concerned.

In contrast, have a look at a short clip:


More intense, shorter and at eye level with the target group.

2. Do good and talk about it

Actually, this well-known motto of public relations experts is directed at those target groups that are in need of this hint.

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We as prevention experts in the field of occupational safety and health know that we do the right thing. And if we talk about it, this is not to polish up our image.

The reason why we need to think about how to convey contents on the issue occupational safety and health is rather because of a problem which we all don’t only know from the field of prevention:

People actually know what they ought to do for which reason but they just don’t do it. They are often – more or less - slow and comfortable, distractable and defiant. They are attached to their routines and habits, overestimate themselves, underestimate hazards and so on. Regarding the issue prevention, research has been going on for decades. Today there are numerous findings for all work areas, excellent instructions and indications. However, the transferred message is not always target group-oriented.


There is a communication “gap” between experts who work out the prevention-relevant information and those who are supposed to implement it.

3. Contents must be transferred beyond the "gap"

What does people motivate to a certain behaviour?

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On the one hand, understanding by the rational transfer of information and new knowledge – this is the cognitive performance of communication.

On the other hand, emotional address, involvement, identification, subliminal impulses for actions and habits.

Such complex communication performances cannot be taken for granted, not even when using modern audiovisual media. To put it simple, one could think that occupational safety and health is in everyone’s interest. So everyone would have to be extremely interested in this issue.

However, everyone who has spent just a bit of time with the transfer of issues from the field of prevention will certainly
have made the experience that this important issue cannot sell itself. And communication experts confirm that in reality not a single issue sells itself.


Communication is an active and complex process. Communication is art, science, handcraft – and business.

4. Professional communication is omnipresent

This is precisely the reason why communication experts – such as communication scientists and media researchers, advertising experts and PR professionals, journalists and artists – are searching for the best way to get the message across.

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This is precisely the reason why communication experts – such as communication scientists and media researchers, advertising experts and PR professionals, journalists and artists – are searching for the best way to get the message across.

They generate a continuous medial “noise level”, wherefrom a great variety of contents is being absorbed nearly unnoticed or at least without reflection. Hardly anyone is aware how much of one’s “own” opinion has consciously been created by professionals.

No matter if political convictions, cultural preferences or consumption decisions – the supposed free formation of opinions is continuously being influenced by a controlled media communication.
People mostly realise this constant manipulation in classical advertisements. Promotion does not hide. It usually openly

presents its intention: without asking and in an offensive manner, it confronts its target groups with its issues. On the one hand, these issues have to be attractive. On the other hand, promotion must use suitable media in order to reach its target groups.

Everyone is aware of this form of commercial advertisement.


In economy, professional communication is something absolutely self-evident.

5. But also the good needs to be sold properly

Communication for non-commercial "good" contents like social issues, art and culture, environmental protection, religion/churches, health – and, of course, also prevention! – is basically nothing more than promotion.

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If we want Vision Zero first to be anchored in people’s minds and then to become reality, our communication has to be at least “state of the art” if not even belong to the avant-garde.

In different terms: as regards the methods, it doesn’t harm to learn from the classical commercial advertisement. In the end, it is even indispensable because big companies that have invested billions of dollars in order to win the battle for the attention of their target groups have always further improved their creative concepts of promotion.

Advertising experts use the “AIDA model” that shows most simply, what is really important for a successful communication:

Attention: the attention of the customer is caught.
Interest: the interest of the customer is aroused.
Desire: the desire for the product is inspired.
Action: the customer buys the product.

In connection with prevention communication, “Desire” is certainly the desire for more safety and health and “Action” the respective behaviour.

Today, the distance towards creative promotion and communication concerning non-commercial contents has gradually disappeared. This is a good development since creative promotion doesn’t make serious contents less serious but more successful. Creativity is the only chance to reach people with the “good” issue.


promotion for the good is good.