Tackling the Invisible Discriminator

Changing behaviour is an integral part of social marketing. However, the issue with this style of marketing is that there is no clearly defined reward for a behaviour change. Beyondblue has managed to overcome this barrier in their latest phenomenal campaign focussing on the subtle forms of discrimination: ‘Stop. Think. Respect.’

Stop Think Respect

Social marketing is inherently difficult. It generally involves encouraging significant behaviour change without being able to provide any material incentive to facilitate such transformations. Consider discrimination.

There are minority groups who are still discriminated against within Australian society. Whether this discrimination takes the form of being accosted on the street, lack of rights under Australian law or unacceptable opinions being broadcast across commercial and social media platforms, it is an issue of significant value that doesn’t end with a material incentive. In fact, these forms have been targeted over the years to varying degrees of success.


It is very easy to attribute blame elsewhere. The number of Australians who would go out of their way to accost someone on the street, vote a political party into the government to limit someone else’s rights or broadcast blatantly discriminatory content form a minority. As such it is very easy to be exposed to these campaigns and think ‘Well, they don’t mean me!’.

Beyondblue has identified a much better way to encourage change in people’s behaviour through their latest campaign. ‘Stop. Think Respect.’ 

Centred around recent studies highlighting the unacceptable discrimination of Indigenous Australians, this campaign focusses on the changing the subtle forms of discriminatory behaviour. It provides a personal insight into the mindset of both the discriminating and the discriminated party highlighting a number of small ways that discrimination is still evident in a society that largely believes itself above such horrible behaviour simply because it isn’t overt.

This simple insight determines the success of the campaign for two reasons. Firstly, it allows a personal experience. As much as we try to step into someone else’s shoes, it is a very difficult task to understand what is going through their head. Putting the audience member in the shoes of the discriminated parties through some very cleverly shot visual and emotive scenarios allows the development of a personal understanding. And if you can create an understanding on a personal level then it is much more likely to leave a lasting memory and ultimately have an impact on behaviour change.

Secondly, they have chosen the right message. The message from this campaign is essentially focussed on removing the ugly voice in the audience’s head. Giving this behaviour a physical appearance allows a memorable understanding of the horrible appearance of discrimination. If you don’t want to look like the horrible voice in these people’s heads, you need to change that voice into something that reflects a nicer appearance. That whole overused devil and angel on the shoulders metaphor. Choose a mindset that is more angelic, less disgusting.

This emotive campaign will hopefully make people stop and think about their behaviour. It has the right components of an effective personal experience and achievable message. But wait . . . I have one more reason as to why this is a phenomenal campaign.

Its reach extends past this individual stream of discrimination.

Watching this video, the discriminated could easily be swapped with another discriminated group. Other races, sexual orientations, genders and characteristics could be substituted into this advertisement and create the same effect. Thus the reach is much further than the immediate issue of Indigenous Australian discrimination. This video forces the audience member to reflect on any subtle discrimination they may commit against a variety of different groups due to the simplicity of the situations.

‘When have I noted trusted someone who is _______?’ ‘When have I chosen not to sit next to someone who is _______?’ ‘When have I told a joke that was actually inappropriate, making fun of someone who is _______?’

This is a phenomenal piece of social marketing by Beyondblue that should enact these well-overdue changes in Australian society.