Feeds

Anti-binge drinking ads add to binge drinking

Yes, I feel guilty, now pour me three large doubles

Top three mobile application threats

A US study has shown that anti-binge drinking ads may actually provoke exactly the kind of liver-bashing behaviour they're trying to prevent.

Saskatchewan Ministry of Health anti-binge drinking posterResearchers at the Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management showed 1,200 undergraduates anti-booze ads based on those used in Canadian campaigns, such as the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health example seen here.

Sadly, it emerged that the ads' reliance on guilt and shame to provoke abstinential remorse backfires because people already feeling these "instinctively resist messages that rely on those emotions, and in some cases are more likely to participate in the behavior they're being warned about", as Advertising Age summarises.

Kellogg marketing professor Nidhi Agrawal explained that this process is known as "defensive processing", in which the ads' targets "tend to disassociate themselves with whatever they are being shown in order to lessen those emotions".

The result? A few quick liveners to numb the pain.

Worse still, the finger-wagging ads will cause the same defensive processing in an individual who's feeling guilty about some other shameful behaviour. Agrawal noted: "If you're talking to a student about cheating on an exam, and one of these ads comes up, you can bet they are headed straight to the bar."

Agrawal insisted: "There's a lot of money spent on these ads that could be put to better use."

The professor had a suggestion for ad makers attempting to warn of the dire consequences of smoking, sexually transmitted diseases or other hazards: spread the word in positive surroundings, "such as in a sitcom or a positive magazine article", because they have "a better chance at resonating than those placed in tense or negative contexts".

Anti-alcohol groups, specifically, would "be better served focusing their messages around how to avoid situations that lead to binge drinking than on the consequences of the behavior, because attempting to shame people out of binge drinking doesn't work".

The findings are published in the Journal of Marketing Research later this year. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.