While there is strong evidence that anti-smoking advertising that generates high levels of negative emotion is better recalled and motivates quitting, the effectiveness of campaigns that evoke positive emotions is less clear. Funded by an NHMRC/VicHealth Partnership Grant, A/Prof Sarah Durkin and colleagues investigated the types and combinations of emotions evoked by anti-smoking advertising that were most likely to increase spontaneous recall and quit attempts. Data were from repeated cross-sectional surveys of Victorian smokers and recent quitters exposed to a wide range of tobacco control campaigns at varying intensities from 2012 to 2015. Emotion responses from these surveys and from independent ad rating studies enabled categorisation of ads into different emotion types, which were then linked with advertising exposure data (gross ratings points). Those exposed to greater levels of high fear or high sadness advertisements in the past three months were more likely to spontaneously recall these adverts, whereas those exposed to high positive emotion adverts were less likely to do so. In contrast, those exposed to greater levels of high fear and/or high positive emotion adverts, but not high sadness adverts, were more likely to report having made a quit attempt and sustaining that attempt within the past three months. Findings suggest that adverts that evoke high negative emotions are likely to cut through other advertising and be recalled easily, unlike positive emotion adverts. Airing high fear and high positive emotion adverts together may be particularly efficient and effective at prompting serious quit attempts.
The LiveLighter ‘Sugary Drink’ campaign was originally produced in Western Australia and launched in Victoria in October, 2015. Targeting adults aged 25-49 years, the campaign graphically depicts visceral fat around vital organs and focuses on the contribution of sugary drink consumption to the development of toxic fat and ultimately disease (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGSTfRUEnDY). The evaluation of the campaign, led by Dr Belinda Morley, aimed to assess its impact on Victorian adults’ awareness, knowledge and sugary drink consumption. Using a pre-post cohort design, population surveys (N=900) were undertaken in the campaign (Victoria) and comparison state (South Australia), with 78% successfully followed-up after the campaign (Victoria: N=673; South Australia: N=730). Almost half (48%) of Victorian adults indicated they were aware of the campaign. A significant reduction in frequent sugary drink consumption (four+ cups/week) was observed in Victoria (31% cf. 22%) compared to South Australia (30% cf. 29%). This was accompanied by a non-significant trend towards increased water consumption (four+ cups/day) among overweight/obese sugary drink consumers in Victoria (66% cf. 73%) compared to South Australia (68% cf. 67%). These findings provide compelling evidence that the LiveLighter campaign reduced sugary drink consumption among Victorian adults. This outcome is notable in a context where public health campaigns are competing with high levels of sugary drink product advertising. With continued investment, LiveLighter should help sustain and enhance improvements in behavior, which could ultimately contribute to reducing obesity-related chronic disease over the longer term.