2004
Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236

Abstract

Abstract

What is the best way to make young adults aware of the costs of bingedrinking? What is the most effective social marketing strategy to change a target audience’s behavioral intention in a desired way? Fear appeals create an unpleasant tension, which will motivate the individual to reduce the uncomfortable feeling by adapting his behavior as recommended in the social marketing message. However, research exploring the effectiveness and the ethical framework of such fear appeals has yielded inconsistent findings. Therefore, humor is often suggested as an alternative strategy to influence behavioral intentions in health communication.

A 2 (appeal: fear vs. humor) x 2 (threat: physical vs. social) between-subjects online experiment was set up, with 164 participants (19-26 years old). Fear appeals appeared to persuade students to a greater extent compared to humor appeals. Similarly, physical threats were more effective than social threats. However, when combining those two message components frightful advertisements with a social threat led to the greatest message conviction. Furthermore, we recommend social marketeers who are planning to use humor appeals in their anti-binge drinking campaign to focus on physical threats instead of social threats. The latter will only reduce the effectiveness of the message.

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2019-04-01
2022-09-25
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