A MODEST PROPOSAL: Which Media Really Reach Criminals? Let’s Find Out

Bell Atlantic Mobile ran this ad (via W.B. Doner & Co., Baltimore) in response to a gruesome wave of car-jacking crimes late last year in New Jersey. The headline warns potential car-jackers they’re ‘surrounded’ by mobile-phone users, while copy urges the latter to phone 911 if they see suspicious activity on the roads. The warning is worth a try, but useful only if such criminals read the paper. Do they? The media habits of other population segments have been studied in detail, but we know little about the reading and TV-viewing habits of criminals – even while we hope to influence their behavior via the media. Since convicts have plenty of time on their hands, why not compel them to spend some of it responding to surveys about which media they consumed while still on the outside?
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)