Anti-alcohol campaigns effects depending on target drinking levels and source perception

Milena Stanojlovic, Ana Cancela, Miguel A. M. Cárdaba, Ubaldo Cuesta


Alcohol consumption represents a major problem for public health. As a consequence, there is a growing interest in understanding which communication strategies have the ability to increase the persuasive power of anti-alcohol campaigns. Many designers of health campaigns use both actors and real people interchangeably to deliver their messages. Nevertheless, little is known regarding which of these two types of message sources are more persuasive. Aim & Methodology. In this study, we used an experimental design to explore the effect of recipients’ perceptions of the message source (presented as either real people or actors) on their drinking intentions. Results. We observed a significant difference in the drinking intentions as an effect of our manipulation, depending on previous recipients’ drinking levels. Heavy consumers were more readily persuaded by the real source message. In contrast, light consumers showed less drinking intentions after receiving the message from the fictional source than from the real one. Conclusions. This indicates that in the context of anti-alcohol campaigns, the same strategy could have both positive and negative effects simultaneously on different target groups. Theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.

Palabras clave

anti-alcohol campaigns, alcohol prevention, media effects, message source, persuasive message

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