Testing the effectiveness of public service ads in persuading target audiences to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages

The Foundation's program, Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity, was designed to support investigator-initiated research to identify and assess environmental and policy influences with the greatest potential to improve healthy eating and weight patterns among the nation's children.Local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now developing media campaigns to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption, which has been found to play a significant role in childhood obesity. The aim of this research project is to test the efficacy of existing beverage-related media messages for youth and parents in order to understand the message features that influence beverage choices and resonate with audiences who are at risk for obesity. This study will be conducted in two stages: (1) a content analysis of the available anti-SSB public service advertisements (PSAs) to determine what types of messages are being used to discourage sugary drink consumption, and (2) a subset of PSAs exemplifying distinct message features will be selected and tested with an online panel of 800 adolescents ages 13 to 17 and 800 parents of children ages 3 to 17 to evaluate how the message features interact with audience characteristics and how the ads predict intention to reduce SSB consumption. Findings of the study will allow health departments to effectively tailor their sugary-beverage messages for the youth and adults who are most at risk for obesity in their communities. Deliverables include a report to be disseminated to health departments, researchers, and communications professionals; conference presentations; peer-reviewed publications; and a website that will allow users to browse through the catalog of PSAs, identify message characteristics of the PSAs, and review research that speaks to the PSAs' efficacy with distinct audiences.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $147,155.00

Awarded on: 1/26/2012

Time frame: 2/1/2012 - 12/31/2012

Grant Number: 69802


University of Pennsylvania

1 College Hall, Room 100
Philadelphia, 19104-6380


Amy Beth Jordan
Project Director