Description of Strategy
Counter-marketing refers to the use of commercial marketing tactics to reduce the prevalence of substance use. Counter-marketing attempts to counter pro-substance influences and increase pro-health messages and influences throughout a state, region, or community (CDC, 2003; CDC, 2000). One example of a counter-marketing campaign is the national “truth” campaign to reduce youth smoking. The campaign features fast-paced, hard-edged ads that present the facts about the addictiveness of smoking, such as, the number of deaths and amount of disease attributed to smoking, the ingredients in cigarettes, and the marketing practices of the tobacco industry (Allen, Vallone, Vargyas, & Healton, 2009).
Also known as...
Denormalization, National "truth" campaign, The Line Social Marketing campaign, campaign against underage drinking
Discussion of Effectiveness
Results of a review article indicate varied evidence of effectiveness for counter-marketing efforts targeting alcohol consumption (Agostinelli & Grube, 2002).
Findings from two systematic reviews are generally supportive of the effectiveness of counter-marketing campaigns for reducing smoking prevalence and initiation (Malone, Grundy, & Bero, 2012; Community Guide (2013). The Community Guide Systematic Review (2013) also found mass-marketing campaigns were effective in increasing cessation and the use of quitlines and other services, as well as decreasing the initiation of youth tobacco use.
Prescription & Other Drugs
Evidence of effectiveness is also mixed for counter-marketing campaigns targeting other drugs. A 2002 study reported that recall of antidrug advertising was associated with a lower probability of marijuana and cocaine/crack use (Block, Morwitz, Putsis, & Sen, 2002). However, a study assessing the National Youth Antidrug Media Campaign did not find an association between the campaign and reduced marijuana use (Hornik, Jacobsohn, Orwin, Piesse, & Kalton, 2008).