Communication through Advocacy Advertising for Public Health Promotion

© Media Watch 6 (1) 92-102, 2015
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2015/v6i1/55393

Communication through Advocacy Advertising for Public Health Promotion

Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, India

This research work is an investigation into the reception of anti-smoking advertisements that make use of “fear appeals”. The objective of the research is to bring audience perceptions, interpretations and making sense processes of such advertising campaigns to the limelight. Instead of measuring effects or effectiveness of anti-smoking messages using shocking images, this project has at its basis the assumption of an active audience that interprets, makes sense and decodes media texts in various ways. Research methods used in this study are qualitative by nature. Research findings show that the prospective audience champion the use of anti-smoking advertisements and see the use of fear appeals
as a one-way road to drawing the audience’s attention, they nevertheless perceive these communication efforts in a highly individualized manner, resisting to advertising techniques of persuasion and showing signs of desensitization towards fear appeals. Findings show that advocacy advertising using fear appeals are always decoded within the wider media context and the identity of smokers themselves often nourished by media representations of smoking, which plays an role in the way the audience gives different interpretations and relates to these messages.

Keywords: Advocacy advertising, advertising campaign, anti-smoking, fear appeal


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Dr. Mahendra Kumar Padhy is an assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Central University, Lucknow-226 025, India.