Evaluating the impact of the carrier bag charge communications


Why the client needed the research
In 2010 the Welsh Government stated its intention to introduce a charge on single use carrier bags in Wales.  The charge was to be introduced in October 2011, making Wales the first nation in the UK to do so.

Prior to the implementation of the charge communication activity was required, focusing on what the change would mean for shoppers and retailers.  Welsh Government marketing and communication objectives were to raise awareness of the introduction of the charge and motivate consumers and businesses to see charging as positive step.

To assist the creative development and evaluation of this activity the Welsh Government required a research programme that would:
- test the creative ideas being developed for the campaign
- measure the awareness and attitudes around the compulsory carrier bag charge and bag reuse behaviours
- evaluate the impact of the marketing and communications activity
Our approach
Beaufort used a combination of qualitative and quantitative research techniques to meet the objectives and requirements of the study.  The qualitative component consisted of discussion groups to test the creative ideas being developed for the campaign, while quantitative surveys of robust samples of grocery shoppers and retailers measured awareness, attitudes and the impact of the campaign.

The quantitative components of the study surveyed robust, representative samples of 1,000 grocery shoppers (interviewed face to face using CAPI) and 300 retailers in Wales (by telephone).  Each of these audiences was interviewed prior to the main phase of the communications campaign and also post communications, enabling a robust measure of the campaign impact to be determined.

As is required for all public sector research conducted in Wales, consideration was given to Welsh language requirements throughout. The views of Welsh speakers were obtained during the qualitative phase as it is important with creative development work to check that the approaches convey the desired message in both languages.  We were also able to offer Welsh language interviews to all survey respondents, so they could respond in the language they were most comfortable using to express their views.  As a bilingual research agency with executive, moderating and interviewing staff in-house we were able to accommodate this as a matter of course.

What the client said
“We commissioned Beaufort to undertake pre-campaign evaluation to measure attitudes and awareness. They also tested our campaign visual ideas and messages. This was all undertaken within budget and the timescale we had set out.” (Hannah Emmott, Senior Communications Officer, Welsh Government)