In Australia, fridge magnets took on a whole new persona after the events of September 11.
The government of the day decided that its citizens should be warned and advised of possible threats to security, and a publicity campaign was launched.
A special hotline was set up so that suspicious activity could be reported to the authorities.
A slogan “Be Alert But Not Alarmed” was the headline and a fridge magnet was distributed with information on what to do and who to call.
While some may say this was a prudent and sensible way of reaching people, the issue became a political football with many critics either lampooning the idea or questioning its effectiveness.
Either way, suddenly fridge magnets were the talking point with commentators taking sides of the argument to prove that the government was being either responsible or irresponsible, depending on the political point of view.
It was recognised, of course, that fridge magnets were an effective way of disseminating information to the population and keeping the message sticking around in an accessible way.
Was the campaign effective?
Well, in terms of public awareness, we reckon everyone knew of these magnets, even if they didn’t actually use them or whether they agreed with teh concept or not.
The government had recognised – as do smart marketers everywhere, that fridge magnets can be an extremely cost effective method of communication. They can be distributed far and wide with a minimum of effort and are a reliable way to keep information in view without a use-by date associated with most other forms of media. Many MPs now issue magnets to their constituents as a way of keeping their name and message uppermost. Generally this type of fridge magnet is a calendar or list of handy information – handy whatever your politics!