Behaviour changing campaigns: success and failure factors

Filed under - Advocacy

Published on 21 February 2011 as a U4 Helpdesk answer
Please provide a synthesis of lessons learned from social campaigns which seek to promote value and behaviour change across society (e.g. public health, drink driving, domestic violence, etc) and that could be relevant to anti-corruption campaigns.


We would appreciate reference to case studies of successful behaviour changing campaigns and the critical factors for success or failure. You could explore subjects beyond corruption, but they would need to have strong social relevance. We are looking for examples that mirror the major campaigns to change attitudes towards drink-driving and domestic violence in the UK in the 1980s.


1. Introduction to behaviour change
2. Critical success factors
3. Critical failure factors
4. Anti-corruption campaigns
5. References


Corruption is multi-faceted and difficult to package into a single message. The topic is also culturally specific, with different manifestations in different countries and societies. It therefore presents a tough communication challenge.

At present, the number and quality of campaign evaluations in the area of societal value change, including those related to anti-corruption, is limited. It is clear however that some campaigns have been more successful than others. Lessons can be learned from community-level campaigns aimed to empower individuals, national campaigns focused on specific target groups and international campaigns requiring long-term, collective action. Case studies of campaigns with strong social relevance can highlight elements of a campaign that affect their impact. Critical success factors include understanding the target audience, generating a sense of community responsibility and increasing sense of agency. Issue framing is also important. Factors that can limit the impact of a campaign include the use of fear-based messaging, lack of authentic experience and voice, and the use of unclear messaging that can be misinterpreted.

Author(s): Catherine Mann, Transparency International,
Reviewed by: Robin Hodess, Ph.D., Transparency International,
Publication date: 21 February 2011
Number: 270

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Country / Territory - International   
Region - Global   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Advocacy   |   Civil society   |   Health   |   Public services   
Tags - behaviour changing campaigns   |   drink-driving   |   domestic violence   |   public health   |   campaigns   |   HIV   

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