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How Broadcast Volume and Emotional Content Affect Youth Recall of Anti-Tobacco Advertising

      Background

      Televised anti-tobacco advertising has been shown to be effective for discouraging smoking initiation; however, purchasing broadcasting time is very costly. This study investigated the relative impact of the broadcast volume (media weight) and the emotional content of an ad as predictors of advertising recall.

      Methods

      The data come from a random-digit-dialed survey conducted in 2001 and 2002 of 3863 youth aged 12–17. Media weight was based on commercial TV ratings data. The emotional intensity of advertisements was derived from the ratings made by independent youth judges.

      Results

      Data analyses were conducted between 2005 and 2007. Results indicated that media weight was a significant predictor of recall, but the emotional content of the ad was an even stronger predictor. Also, ads low in emotional intensity required more media weight than those high in emotional intensity to achieve the same amount of increase in recall.

      Conclusions

      This study extends prior research that highlights the importance of emotional intensity for effective anti-tobacco advertising. It also indicates that, relative to unemotional advertisements, emotionally arousing advertisements require fewer broadcasts to achieve the same level of recall, and hence are likely to be less costly to a public health campaign.
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      Linked Article

      • The Kids Will Be All Right (If They Don't Smoke)
        American Journal of Preventive MedicineVol. 39Issue 6
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          Progress against tobacco use relies on two trends—the ability of smokers to quit and the initiation of smoking, mainly by youth and young adults. Why is that progress so excruciatingly slow? After all, we have abundant knowledge of which public policies and clinical interventions work.1,2 In part, tobacco use remains a huge problem because of failure to apply what we know. This occurs because of the appeal of other public health issues, such as childhood obesity, state fiscal crises that imperil funds for proven strategies such as counteradvertising and toll-free telephone quitlines, and a sense of complacency that the battle is already won.
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