Feeds

Anti-binge drinking ads add to binge drinking

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

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.