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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 96, Issue 3, pp 189–193 | Cite as

Marketing a Hard-to-Swallow Message

Recommendations for the Design of Media Campaigns to Increase Awareness about the Risks of Binge Drinking
  • Susan M. Jack
  • L. Michelle Sangster Bouck
  • Charlene E. Beynon
  • Donna K. Ciliska
  • Martha J. Lewis (Mitchell)
Article

Abstract

Background

Binge drinking, commonly defined as having more than five drinks on a single occasion, is a public health issue affecting two thirds of Canadian young adults between the ages of 19–24 years. To educate young adults about alcohol poisoning, a network of 16 Ontario Health Units developed and implemented a mass-media campaign. The focus of this article is to report on post-secondary students’ perceptions about key media campaign strategies, elements and messages for future campaigns designed to increase awareness about the risks of binge drinking.

Methods

As part of a multi-method process evaluation, nine focus groups were facilitated to explore the young adults’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about binge drinking and the campaign messages. Participants were also asked to identify specific marketing messages and techniques that would increase their level of awareness about the risks of binge drinking.

Results

Participants recommended that campaigns be targeted towards parents and high school and post-secondary school students. Participants provided recommendations for the types of messages, images, and language they perceived would capture the attention of young adults. Television, posters and the internet were identified as key media channels for disseminating health information about the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

Conclusion

The problem of binge drinking is pervasive across Canadian campuses and students are largely unaware of the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption. To reach this target population, it is important for future media campaign developers to utilize language, definitions, graphics and channels of communication to which this group relates.

MeSH terms

Mass media evaluation studies alcohol drinking adult 

Résmé

Contexte

L’alcoolisme périodique, et plus particulièrement les accès de forte consommation qui y sont associés (plus de cinq verres par épisode), sont un problème de santé publique qui touche les deux tiers des jeunes adultes canadiens de 19 à 24 ans. Pour sensibiliser les jeunes adultes à l’intoxication alcoolique, un réseau de 16 bureaux de santé ontariens a élaboré et mis en ouvre une campagne dans les médias. Le présent article porte sur les perceptions d’étudiants de niveau postsecondaire à l’égard des stratégies, des éléments et des messages clés de futures campagnes de sensibilisation aux risques de l’alcoolisme périodique.

Méthode

Dans le cadre d’une évaluation faisant appel à plusieurs méthodes, nous avons organisé neuf groupes de discussion pour analyser les connaissances, les attitudes et les convictions de jeunes adultes à propos de l’alcoolisme périodique et des messages de la campagne envisagée. Nous avons demandé aux participants de nous indiquer avec précision les messages et les techniques de marketing pouvant rehausser leur niveau de sensibilisation aux risques de l’alcoolisme périodique.

Résultats

Les participants nous ont recommandé d’axer les campagnes sur les parents et les élèves de niveau secondaire et postsecondaire. Ils ont formulé des recommandations sur le genre de messages, d’images et de langage qui captent le mieux, à leur avis, l’attention des jeunes adultes. Ainsi, la télévision, les affiches et l’Internet seraient les voies de communication à privilégier pour diffuser l’information sanitaire sur les risques associés à l’abus d’alcool.

Conclusion

Le problème de l’alcoolisme périodique est omniprésent sur les campus canadiens, et les élèves ignorent pour la plupart les risques associés à l’abus d’alcool. Pour atteindre la population cible, il est important pour les créateurs de campagnes d’information d’utiliser un langage, des définitions, des images et des voies de communication auxquels cette population s’identifie.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan M. Jack
    • 1
  • L. Michelle Sangster Bouck
    • 2
    • 3
  • Charlene E. Beynon
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Donna K. Ciliska
    • 1
    • 5
  • Martha J. Lewis (Mitchell)
    • 2
  1. 1.HSC 2J30 School of NursingMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Middlesex-London Health UnitLondonCanada
  3. 3.Public Health Research Education and Development (PHRED) ProgramLondonCanada
  4. 4.School of Nursing, University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  5. 5.Hamilton Public Health and Social Services PHRED ProgramHamiltonCanada

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