Counter-Marketing and Counter-Advertising Campaigns

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

Alcohol

Results of a review article indicate varied evidence of effectiveness for counter-marketing efforts targeting alcohol consumption (Agostinelli & Grube, 2002).

Tobacco

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).

References

Strategy Description

Allen, J. A., Vallone , D., Vargyas , E., & Healton , C.G. ( 2009). The truth® campaign: Using counter-marketing to reduce youth smoking. In B. Healey & R. Zimmerman, Jr . (Eds.), The new world of health promotion: New program development, implementation, and evaluation. Sudbury, MA : Jones & Bartlett.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2003). Designing and implementing an effective tobacco counter-marketing campaign. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2000) Reducing tobacco use: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

Community Guide (2013) Tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure: Mass-reach health communication interventions. Retrieved September 25, 2017

Evidence Base

Agostinelli, G. & Grube, J.W. (2002). Alcohol counter-advertising and the media: A review of recent research. Alcohol Research and Health, 26(1), 15-21.

Block, L.G., Morwitz, V.G., Putsis, W.P., & Sen, S.K. (2002). Assessing the impact of antidrug advertising on adolescent drug consumption: results from a behavioral economic model. American Journal of Public Health, 92(8), 1346–1351. doi:10.2105/AJPH.92.8.1346

Hornik, R., Jacobsohn, L., Orwin, R., Piesse, A., & Kalton, G. (2008). Effects of the national youth anti-drug media campaign on youths. American Journal of Public Health, 98(12), 2229-2236.

Malone, R.E., Grundy, Q., & Bero, L.A. (2012). Tobacco industry denormalisation as a tobacco control intervention: A review. Tobacco Control, 21(2), 162–170. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050200

Niederdeppe, J., Farrelly, M.C., & Haviland, M.L. (2004). Confirming “truth”: More evidence of a successful tobacco counter-marketing campaign in Florida. American Journal of Public Health, 94(2), 255-257.

Futher Reading

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2003). Designing and implementing an effective tobacco counter-marketing campaign. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

Sukle, M., Neujahr, A., Koch, K.C., & Schultz, D. (2010). “Where do you draw the line?” Wyoming’s unified campaign to tackle substance abuse. Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing, 4, 79-100.