Assessment of Youth Responses to Anti-Smoking Ads: Description of a Research Protocol

ImpacTeen Research Papers

Assessment of Youth Responses to Anti-Smoking Ads: Description of a Research Protocol
Wakefield M, Balch GI, Terry-McElrath Y, Szczypka G, Clegg Smith K, Ruel E, Flay B, Emery S.

This working paper summarizes the protocol used in a study to determine the characteristics of anti-smoking ads more and less likely to be potentially effective in influencing teenage smoking. The study was conducted as part of the NCI-funded project Youth Smoking and the Media, in order to assist decision-making about how to relate volume of anti-smoking advertising to survey data on teenage smoking. Since it was recognized that different anti-smoking advertisements are likely to have different effects, it was planned to “weight” the media monitoring records of anti-smoking volume, according to the characteristics of the actual advertisements that were broadcast. The study was designed to determine which ad characteristics were associated with higher teen ratings on standard advertising response scales and which advertisement characteristics were associated with higher rates of recall, thinking about the ad and discussion about the ad at follow-up. The ad rating study described in this working paper employed a sample of 50 anti-smoking ads drawn from US state and national tobacco control programs, tobacco companies and pharmaceutical companies from 1997 to 2001. The ads represented both those targeted to youth and non-youth audiences, and a range of message themes including ‘cessation’, ‘general health effects’, ‘health benefits’, ‘second hand smoke’, ‘industry manipulation’, ‘family guidance’, ‘uncool’, and ‘other’. In total, 278, 8th, 10th and 12th grade youth in Chicago and Boston who were either non-susceptible nonsmokers or experimenter smokers participated in the study. Each youth attended a group viewing session with 12-18 other youth. After viewing a practice ad, each stimulus anti-smoking ad was shown twice and the youth was required to complete a one-page rating form. This process was repeated until 10 ads had been viewed. One week later, each youth was telephoned and asked about any ads that they recalled, had thought more about, or discussed with anyone. The protocol included a test for advertising order effects and familiarity with the ads. Analyses will examine differences between youth and non-youth focused ads and between ads from different sponsors, what ad themes and characteristics predict higher rates of teen comprehension and higher overall ad appraisal, and at follow-up, higher rates of recall, discussion about the ad and thinking about the ad; and subgroup differences in these variables.

Research Paper (PDF – 344KB)

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