#Ardent (Twitter): having, expressive of, or characterized by intense feeling; passionate; fervent: an ardent vow; intensely devoted, eager, or enthusiastic; zealous: a vehement; fierce: burning, fiery, or hot: the ardent core of a star. L ārdent- (s. of ārdēns, prp. of ārdēre to burn), equiv. to ārd- burn + -ent- -ent
I’d much prefer that Police, along with critical roles such as Teachers and Nurses, received a disproportionate share of KRudd’s $900 Pokies Stimulus, rather than it be an across the board vote grab bribe. Too often Police are just treated as 35 second 6pm news soundbites for #Underbelly Corruption, Union Claims for more pay, demand for headcount to increase street presence, not to mention the recurring item about replacing the out of date prehistoric Victorian police guns with more up to date arsenal such as tasers and automatic weapons made in the last decade. But that ain’t stopping our COPS!
It appears in this twitter age, The Victorian Police, are adopting a by any means necessary approach to get the one too many after work frunks, stoned or iced / turbo charged P-Plating hoons / even non mobile headset or seatbelt operating - off the road or at least getting them to reimburse a large percentage of their Krudd stimulus bonus for road infractions.
So this weekend just gone : With 12254 motorists breath tested, Victoria Police launched it’s largest targeted weekend blitz “Operation Ardent” (#Ardent), which is a pretty damn compelling case study.
If you’re Victorian, and read the morning papers, it was pretty hard to avoid last week the full page ads (at least in the Herald Sun) as Police followed their preventative marketing imprimatur of mass communicating that there would be a booze / speed / hoon / drug blitz (X) in designated location / region / suburb / event (Y); In this case the full page ads listed the 10 highest regions in Victoria for road trauma : With the statement said there would be an unheralded blitz in one or more of these regions over the weekend. There would be booze buses, drug buses, cop cars, motorbike police - If police were your fetish, this would be a prosecutive orgy. With “6 drunk-drivers, five drug-drivers, 861 general traffic offences and almost 4000 Twitter followers” that is what they got too.
Now alot of us are pretty cynical about getting a $156-$228 fine for parking for 5 minutes too long, or turning at the wrong arrow or going 3 kilometres over a speed zone that changes 8 times in 1km depending on the day of the week. So Operation Ardent started in the right way in that it communicated where and what may happen, and more so, used “Road Trauma” as the basis, not Revenue Maximisation. Casey the area targeted for the first weekend, may be a young family growth area (as evidenced by my footy club signing a 30 year deal to use Casey as it’s training grounds till the next Armageddon) but the stats say there are lots of tragic car accidents there, and possibly a few too many P-Plating hotted up Skylines, Commodores and other Jap grey imports.
The pre-buzz full page ads was not anything too new even if the methodology and copy around Road Trauma was well crafted. Where #Ardent got interesting was Twitter. (the tweets are still coming in fast!) Taking a Chapter out of the American Government Afghanistan Generation Kill Playbook - the Victorian Police got their Twitter account happening @VictoriaPolice, and then handed over login details to their Deputy Commissioner #KenLay (Father of Amy Lay @Squirreltastic)
Ken’s embedded hard2find press release : “Many young people use Twitter on their mobile phones, even when they’re out drinking and socialising.. If posting the details of bad behaviour on Twitter stops even one person from getting in their car and driving drunk, it will be worth it.”
#KenLay reported from Casey during the #Ardent blitz, and while not naming names or license plates, it was pretty much a straightup account of what @VictoriaPolice were facing on the street. As you’d expect the Twitter feedback was highly positive and dare I say it, for the Victoria Police brand, and communication objectives, much stronger and cheaper than running some (over exposed, desensitised) 30 second TVC’s which would have gone into Kerry Stokes, Private Equity and Harold Mitchell’s pockets. People seemed to have really responded to the COPS style tone of voice, even some going as far to saying they read the tweets in a batman voice.
So Let’s hope the success of Embedded Real Time Reporting Largest Victorian Police Blitz on Road Trauma : will lower the risk for other Australian public services + governments to harness Socialy twitter things + provide the neccessary capabilities to the frontline of each of their departments - Public Transport / Schools /Hospitals and send out some tweets of love, fear, planes, trains and automobiles. We’d love to hear from you.
Because as Inspector Watson said : “We know that young people are over represented in road trauma statistics, so by being upfront with information via a service like Twitter, police hope that young drivers will take more notice of road safety messages..”
That’s a bit harsh Thomas ! You have to read the voice in either the Batman (Christian Bale or original TV) or US COPS show… hehe