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"We used capital letters to really make the message hit home".

The print advertising campaign.
The print advertising campaign.

This post is heavy on the satire and under no circumstances should you imagine that any of the people mentioned in the post actually said any of these things.

You have been warned.

By SCOTT LIMBRICK

Shortly after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement that asylum seekers arriving by boat would no longer be processed or settled in Australia, the government unveiled a new advertising campaign targeted at undecided refugees.

“If you come here by boat without a visa you won’t be settled in Australia,” read the full-page advertisement featured in newspapers across the country on Saturday. An image of a boat helpfully reinforced the message.

Government representatives advised that this was just the beginning of a rollout of the campaign throughout Australia.

“This is only the first step,” claimed Department of Immigration and Citizenship communications manager Sandi Logan.

“We are also working on billboards in Western Sydney and bus stop ads in Queensland. This will ensure that asylum seekers across the Middle East and Asia are aware of the new change in rules.”

Immigration Minister Tony Burke agreed. “These ads are also an effective way of letting people smugglers know that their business model will simply not work.”

“Our communications officers are currently working on Facebook ads and we hope that those seeking asylum will assist in retweeting images to their families and friends. The message is clear, but needs to be shared.”

Mr Rudd clarified the communications strategy. “There is no question that humourous gifs will be the most effective method of promotion. However, it is important that we use an appropriate media mix, including traditional media, to ensure that we reach all audiences.”

A graphic designer contracted for the project, who declined to be named, indicated satisfaction with their work.

“My brief was to communicate clearly that asylum seekers arriving by boat will not be settled in Australia.”

“We used capital letters to really make the message hit home. I’m pretty happy with it, overall.”

When contacted for comment, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott claimed that the campaign would do nothing to stop the boats.

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“By putting ads like these in newspapers along with an image of a boat, this government is only encouraging people to consider further action, such as creating origami boats. There will be more boats than ever before.”

"Boats."
“Boats.”

“Boats,” he added.

People smugglers advised that they had set their alarms early and managed to remove the ad from most papers before they reached the general public.

“We got the idea from watching sitcoms,” one unnamed smuggler said.

“In these shows people always have to prevent others seeing the daily newspaper, so we knew what to do.”

However, they were not able to find them all.

Amir, 17, had seen the ad and claimed that he would no longer consider using a boat to travel to Australia.

“Fortunately I subscribe to The Age and The Advertiser. Usually I read the sports section, but this ad really jumped out at me. I appreciated the fact that it was targeted at people like me, who regularly read Australian papers.”

“They were really on the ball in getting the message to the right people.”

Despite this, he voiced some concern about online advertising.

“With new paywalls on many news sites I’m not sure that my friends or family are as up to date as I am. I prefer print, but most people I know like to use their iPad or phone to keep up with developments overseas.”

“The Australian government will need to make sure that it is working effectively with new media as well.”

His friend Yasmin, 19, agreed. “I know a few people who were on a boat scheduled for a Saturday arrival. There is no way they could get the paper delivered, and I’m sure they would have exceeded their monthly limit on free articles during such a long journey.”

Both Amir and Yasmin doubted that they would see any billboards but supported the message being spread wherever possible, “particularly in marginal seats.”

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