Public Health England – marketing plan and youth

Public Health England have published their Marketing Plan 2013-14 which includes a section on youth.  The plan acknowledges that teenagers face a number of pressures and that it’s a time when many choose to smoke, drink, take drugs and have sex for the first time.  In response they say:

Our overall marketing objective is to catalyse positive conversations about health between peers and between parents and their children.

They also tell us that their marketing messages will be focused on 11 to 16 year olds on the understanding that once risky behaviours start marketing interventions are much less likely to succeed. Continue reading

More on public health messaging

frank - cokeWe’ve seen that the Department of Health have decided to stop paying into the advertising budget for FRANK TV ads and posters, like the one to the right.

A recent conversation I had with someone in the DH suggested that one of the reasons for that was because they want their advertising spend to lead to a change of behaviour.

My view of FRANK adverts (both print and digital) is that their purpose is to persuade young people to use other parts of the service (website, helpline etc.) rather than change behaviour per se.

That may be a good thing as the recent article on the BBC’s website about FRANK pointed out there isn’t much evidence for media campaigns changing people’s behaviour when it comes to drugs.  Indeed this helpful summary of the evidence on Drug and Alcohol Findings suggests that US attempts “may have promoted more pro-cannabis attitudes and beliefs”.

Nevertheless, posters remain a core activity of a lot of public health campaigns.  So, if you were going to try to develop a campaign that does lead to behaviour change what might you do?

Continue reading