Objective-To assess adults' receptivity to the Massachusetts television ant
i-tobacco campaign. Reactions were examined as a function of respondents' d
emographics, baseline tobacco control attitudes, changes in smoking status
during the campaign, and advertisements' affective qualities.
Design-A random digit dial telephone survey in 1993 at the start of the med
ia campaign and re-interview in 1996 of respondents to the baseline survey.
Participants-Respondents were 1544 adults who completed the baseline and fo
llow up interview.
Intervention-By the time the follow up survey was completed, approximately
$49 million had been spent on the media campaign. Approximately 66 spots ha
d been aired.
Main outcome measures-Reported exposure to television advertisements; perce
ived effectiveness of nine specific advertisements each.
Results-56% of respondents reported seeing anti-tobacco advertisements at l
east once a week during the preceding three years. The average effectivenes
s rating for all advertisements recalled on a 0-10 scale was 7.29, and did
not differ by smoking status group. Advertisements eliciting strong negativ
e emotions (sadness and fear) were rated most effective by quitters, non-sm
okers, and by smokers who at baseline were planning to quit soon. Humorous,
entertaining advertisements were seen as ineffective by all group.
Conclusion-The Massachusetts antitobacco campaign achieved high levels of p
enetration into the population and was well received by both smokers and no
n-smokers. The results suggest that advertisements depicting suffering as a
result of tobacco use may be instrumental in promoting cessation or reinfo
rcing the decision to quit. Further research is needed to lend additional s
upport to the link between perceived effectiveness and smoking behaviour ch