Feeds

Anti-binge drinking ads add to binge drinking

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.