Published: June 2015

ID #: 69802

Journal: J Health Comm

Authors: Bleakley A, Jordan AB, Hennessy M, Glanz K, Strasser A, Vaala S

See more related research


Mass media campaigns are a commonly used and often effective public health strategy. However, it is unknown how health messages about sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), widely accepted and advertised products, will be perceived by teen audiences. This study investigated the direct and mediated effects of emotional appeals in beverage-related public service advertisements (PSAs) that aired between 2010 and 2012 on adolescents’ intention to reduce their SSB consumption. An online randomized experiment was conducted with a national sample of adolescent respondents ages 13 to 17 to test the effect of three emotional persuasive appeals – humor, fear, and nurturance. The experiment randomly assigned participants to one of three experimental conditions, representing PSAs with different emotional appeals, or a control group. Either directly or indirectly, humor, fear, and nurturance appeals were each associated with an increased intention to cut back on sugary drinks. Perceived argument strength, one of the mediators measured, was a key predictor of intention and was influenced by all three types of PSAs, most strongly by fear and nurturance appeals.

Related Research

February 2016

Weight Stigmatization Moderates the Effects of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage-Related PSAs Among U.S. Parents

Research suggests that media campaigns targeting weight-related behaviors may inadvertently increase stigmatization of obese and overweight individuals and could backlash such that stigmatized individuals are less likely to engage in healthy behaviors following exposure to the message. This study examines stigmatized and non-stigmatized parents’ emotional and cognitive responses to sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB)-reduction public service announcements More

July 2015

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage-Related Public Service Advertisements and Their Influence on Parents

There is substantial evidence that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is associated with weight gain in both children and adults. As a result, Public Service Announcements (PSAs) have been produced to both increase knowledge about the amount of sugar in drinks and to highlight the harmful effects of their overconsumption. This article explores the impact More

February 2012

Testing the Effectiveness of Public Service Ads in Persuading Target Audiences to Reduce Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

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 More