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The Late Shift

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MARKETING CHALLENGE: Driver fatigue. It’s deadly. 

On average 66 people die a year on NSW roads with nearly 1,500 casualties in 2014 alone, with 40% of incidents happening in Metropolitan areas. 

In 2015 The Centre for Road Safety tasked UM with creating a media campaign that educates those NSW drivers who are prone to driving fatigued on short trips. 

This was a tough brief! How do you convince someone to act on their tiredness on short trips, when they don't realise the risks of driving tired? 

• Tiredness is subjective. People can’t yet define what is and isn’t ‘too’ tired. 
• Short trips are habitual and behavioural theory says that the more you do things without negative repercussions the more likely you are to do the behaviour. 

The agency's communication solution would therefore need to;   

1. Engage drivers we know that are at a higher-risk of driver fatigue at the point of behaviour. 
2. Increase their awareness of the risks, the indicators of tiredness and how to overcome them. 


1. Through in-depth analysis of fatigue incident data UM discovered that 66.1% of short-trip incidents happen between midnight and 6am. 

2. After speaking with drivers who drive during these hours regularly it recognised it had the perfect medium to help solve the problem; one of the most prevalent tools used by drivers to try and keep themselves alert was ‘cranking’ up the radio. 


Based on these insights, UM's strategy was to co-create a first of its kind, midnight to dawn radio show, to arm drivers with the knowledge and tools to identify and manage their tiredness.  

It wanted to create a tool that would educate at risk drivers, help frame up the risks and consequences and impact behavior, in the moment, whilst drivers were on the road. 

So why did the strategy involve producing an entire radio show, and not just a radio spot campaign? If the solution was going to be effective, it would need to communicate to this audience in a credible yet entertaining way not as government. 


The Late Shift was a first of its kind midnight to dawn radio show, designed in partnership with Nova, Sleep physicians and experts Dr Anup Desai and Prof. Ron Grunstein. 

The agency identified Nova as the perfect partner based on listenership but also to use its expertise to design a show that was both a great way to educate drivers but also entertaining.  

It had a media platform with minimal wastage, everyone behind the wheel at this time, was at risk. 


Partnering with Nova, The Late Shift was three months in the making: 

1. Had to find two hosts because previously this ‘time slot’ had not been hosted. Jimmy and Nath, two of Nova’s hottest young talent were selected, and they went on an intense training programme on the science of sleep with the Centre for Road Safety. 

2. Nova producers spent time with the sleep experts and then designed interactive show segments to educate and skill up drivers - understanding the importance of using the right type of content throughout the night.  

What was created: 

• A series of puzzles and problem solving exercises so listeners could self-asses their own tiredness levels throughout the night. 
• Live fatigue tests through listener call ins. 
• Interview segments with sleep specialists and first hand testimonials from those who have experienced the dangers of driving tired. 
• Engaged taxi drivers (at 12-3am) and tradie’s (at 5am) in the conversation and nudged them to assess their tiredness with ‘Time Awake’ checks. 
• Adapted the Test Your Tired Self App as a help tool. 

Across the Nova network the show was spruiked by Jimmy and Nath who were interviewed on Fitzy and Wippa morning show. Social, podcasts and digital media also helped take the segments from the show to a broader audience. 

The agency was also able to syndicate the show on regional station Star 104.5 due to the high number of incidents occurring between Gosford and Sydney in the early hours. 


The show ran for eight weeks from early March until late April.   

Over that period the time spots audience increased by 5%. There was minimal wastage with this media idea, as the vast majority of listeners at this time of night would be fatigued. (Source: GfK Metro Radio Survey 1 2016 VS Survey 2, 2016) 

Objective 1: Increase knowledge that fatigue is one of the top three killers on NSW roads from: from 54% to 60%: RESULT 82%.  

Objective 2: Increase take out that driving tired is as dangerous as driving with a BAL of 0.05% from 70% to 75%:  RESULT 80% 

Objective 3: Shift consideration about the consequences of driving tired from 28% to 40%: RESULT 87% 

In addition: 

• 42% of listeners said they changed their behaviour as a result of listening to the show 
• 14% of listeners searched for more information about the danger of driving tired 
• 57% of them visiting 

This research was conducted amongst Nova Late Shift Listeners, so all results can be attributed to the show’s success.  

Not only did it change how radio can be used and create a bespoke platform where the impact of driving tired could be landed it was able to engage with at risk drivers when they needed a prompt the most; late at night whilst behind the wheel. 

It was so successful, there are plans to do it again this year.

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NSW Government
Government/Public Sector
March - April 2016
Media Channel:
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