ITEM METADATA RECORD
Title: Healthy or Unhealthy slogans: That’s the question…
Authors: Adams, Leen
Geuens, Maggie
Issue Date: 2005
Conference: The International Conference on Corporate and Marketing Communication (ICMC) location:Nicosia, Cyprus date:2005
Abstract: According to the WHO, adolescents do not meet the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables and they consume soft drinks and sweets on a daily basis. Although several moderators of food consumption have already been postulated in the literature (e.g. food beliefs and preferences, family/peer/ cultural/social influence, availability of food, etc.) (Birch 1999, Birch and Fisher 1998, Escobar 1999, French et al. 2001, Story et al. 2002), we have to admit that obesity tends to increase in Western societies (WHO 2003). As a consequence, health has become a more and more important issue in Western societies leading food companies to position their products as being good for your health and well being (Dodd and Morse, 1994). According to Young, also children categorize foods predominantly on the ‘healthy-unhealthy’ dimension. He hypothesizes that this categorization might lead to different responses to food ads. Although there has been quite some research on the role of advertising in youngsters’ food choices (Bandyopadhyay et al. 2001, Goldberg and Marvin 1990, Halford et al. 2003, OFCOM 2004, Young 2003, Young et al. 1996), to our knowledge it has not been investigated how youngsters respond to ads promoting food in a healthy or unhealthy manner. Objectives The main objective of this paper was to investigate whether youngsters respond differently to an ad in which a product is positioned as healthy or unhealthy. Moreover, we wanted to find out whether the nature of the product and personal variables mattered. Therefore, product (healthy vs. unhealthy), health consciousness and current eating behaviour were taken into account as moderating variables. Finally, we were interested in the explanatory power of opinion on food of parents and the opinion on food of friends for ad responses. Methodology To test the hypotheses a 2 (healthy vs. unhealthy product) by 2 (healthy vs. unhealthy slogan) mixed subjects design was set up. Every respondent saw two ads with each ad containing a different product and a different slogan. Stimuli. As for the two products, cookies were chosen as the unhealthy and cornflakes as the healthy product. We used fictitious brand names for each of them. The unhealthy slogans were: ‘Munchies, the sweet snack, full of taste!’ and ‘Flakes with extra sugar give you energy in the morning’. As healthy slogans we used: ‘Munchies, the healthy snack full of fibers!’ and ‘Flakes, cereals rich in calcium, which give you energy in the morning’. Respondents. One hundred fifty-three pupils of age 15 participated in the study. All of them followed a non-vocational education; about sixty percent of them were girls. Measures. As manipulation checks, the health perception of the product and the slogan was measured (six seven-point semantic differential scale, Cronbach’s alpha = .85). As expected, the cookies and the unhealthy slogan were perceived as significantly more unhealthy than the cornflakes and the healthy slogan. The independent variables included were opinion of the participants’ parents and of the participants’ friends on healthy eating behavior (one 7-point semantic differential scale), health consciousness of the participants (eleven 5-point Likert scale with items such as ‘I forgo a lot to eat as healthy as possible’ and ‘I believe others pay more attention to health than me’, Cronbach’s alpha = .85) and eating pattern of the participants (participants had to indicate from a list of eleven healthy and eleven unhealthy food products which ones they usually bought of their own budget and which ones they asked their parents to buy for them). On the basis of the latter two variables the respondents were categorized in ‘health conscious vs. health unconscious’ and ‘healthy vs. unhealthy eaters’. The dependent variables used were attitude towards the ad (five item seven-point semantic differential scales, Cronbach’s alpha = .89), attitude towards the brand (four item five-point Likert scale, Cronbach’s alpha = .91) and purchase intention (four item five-point Likert scale, Cronbach’s alpha = .92). Results Analyses of variance did not reveal a main effect of product or slogan, but did indicate a significant interaction effect between the type of slogan and the type of product. The healthy product led to a significantly more positive Aad, Ab and Pi when promoted by the healthy slogan whereas the unhealthy product got higher scores when promoted by the unhealthy slogan. This indicates that also for youngsters the slogan has to be congruent with the product and that marketers cannot generate more positive attitudes towards an unhealthy product just by promoting it in a healthy way. Taking health consciousness into account, health conscious youngsters responded more favorably to a healthy slogan while the reverse held true for health unconscious youngsters. As a consequence, a first step seems to be to make youngsters more health conscious. As far as current eating pattern is concerned, different slogans did not lead to different responses in people with an unhealthy eating pattern. Healthy eaters, on the other hand, responded more positive to a healthy slogan than an unhealthy slogan. Finally, a model tested by means of structural equation modeling (AMOS), showed that the impact of the opinion of friends is significantly larger than the opinion of parents for unhealthy eaters while the reverse held true for healthy eaters. References Bandyopadhyay S, Kindra G. and Sharp L. (2001), “Is television advertising good for children? Areas of concern and policy implications”, International Journal of Advertising, 20 (1), 89-116 Birch L.L. (1999), “Development of food preferences”, Annual Review Public Health, 19, 41-62 Birch L.L. and Fisher J.O. (1998), “Development of eating behaviours among children and adolescents”, Pediatrics, 101 (3), 539-550 Bolton R.N. (1983), “Modeling the Impact of Television Food Advertising on Children’s Diets”, Current Issues and Research in Advertising, 6 (1), 173-87 Currie C. et al (2004), “Young People's Health in Context: international report from the HBSC 2001/02 survey”, WHO Policy Series: Health policy for children and adolescents Issue 4, WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, online available on: http://www.euro.who.int/Document/e82923.pdf Dodd T. and Morse S. (1994), “The impact of media stories concerning health issues on food product sales: Management”, Journal of Consumer marketing, 11 (2), 17-25 Escobar A. (1999), “Factors influencing children’s dietary practices: a review”, Family Economics and Nutrition Review, 12 (3/4), 45-56 French S.A., Story M. and Jeffrey R.W. (2001), “Environmental Influences on eating and Physical Activity”, Annual Review Public Health, 22, 309-35 Goldberg M.E., Gorn G.J. and Gibson W. (1978), “TV Messages for Snack and Breakfast Foods: Do They Influence Children’s Preferences?”, Journal of Consumer Research, 5 (2), 73-81 Goldberg M.E. (1990), “A quasi-experiment assessing the effectiveness of TV advertising directed to children.”, Journal of Marketing Research, 27 (4), 445-455 Gorn G.J. and Goldberg M.E. (1982), “Behavioral Evidence of the Effects of Televised Food Messages on Children”, Journal of Consumer Research, 9 (2), 200-205 Halford J.C.G. et al. (2004), “Effect of television advertisements for foods on food consumption in children.”, Appetite, 42 (2), 221-225 OFCOM (2004), “Childhood Obesity – Food Advertising in Context. Children’s food choices, parents’ understanding and influence, and the role of food promotion.”, online available on: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/consumer_audience_research/tv/food_ads/report.pdf Story M., Neumark-Sztainer D. and French S.A. (2002), “Individual and environmental influences on adolescent eating behaviours”, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Supplement 102 (3), 40-51 WHO (2004), “Health Topics: Obesity”, online available on: http://www.who.int/topics/obesity/en/ Young B., Webley P., Hetherington M. and Zeedyk S. (1996), The role of Television Advertising in Children’s Food Choice, Report commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Young B (2000), “Children’s categorisation of foods”, International Journal of Advertising, 19 (4), 494-508 Young (2003), “Does food advertising influence children’s food choices? A critical review of some of the recent literature”, International Journal of Advertising, 22 (4), 441-59 According to the WHO, adolescents do not meet the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables and they consume soft drinks and sweets on a daily basis. Although several moderators of food consumption have already been postulated in the literature (e.g. food beliefs and preferences, family/peer/ cultural/social influence, availability of food, etc.) (Birch 1999, Birch and Fisher 1998, Escobar 1999, French et al. 2001, Story et al. 2002), we have to admit that obesity tends to increase in Western societies (WHO 2003). As a consequence, health has become a more and more important issue in Western societies leading food companies to position their products as being good for your health and well being (Dodd and Morse, 1994). According to Young, also children categorize foods predominantly on the ‘healthy-unhealthy’ dimension. He hypothesizes that this categorization might lead to different responses to food ads. Although there has been quite some research on the role of advertising in youngsters’ food choices (Bandyopadhyay et al. 2001, Goldberg and Marvin 1990, Halford et al. 2003, OFCOM 2004, Young 2003, Young et al. 1996), to our knowledge it has not been investigated how youngsters respond to ads promoting food in a healthy or unhealthy manner. Objectives The main objective of this paper was to investigate whether youngsters respond differently to an ad in which a product is positioned as healthy or unhealthy. Moreover, we wanted to find out whether the nature of the product and personal variables mattered. Therefore, product (healthy vs. unhealthy), health consciousness and current eating behaviour were taken into account as moderating variables. Finally, we were interested in the explanatory power of opinion on food of parents and the opinion on food of friends for ad responses. Methodology To test the hypotheses a 2 (healthy vs. unhealthy product) by 2 (healthy vs. unhealthy slogan) mixed subjects design was set up. Every respondent saw two ads with each ad containing a different product and a different slogan. Stimuli. As for the two products, cookies were chosen as the unhealthy and cornflakes as the healthy product. We used fictitious brand names for each of them. The unhealthy slogans were: ‘Munchies, the sweet snack, full of taste!’ and ‘Flakes with extra sugar give you energy in the morning’. As healthy slogans we used: ‘Munchies, the healthy snack full of fibers!’ and ‘Flakes, cereals rich in calcium, which give you energy in the morning’. Respondents. One hundred fifty-three pupils of age 15 participated in the study. All of them followed a non-vocational education; about sixty percent of them were girls. Measures. As manipulation checks, the health perception of the product and the slogan was measured (six seven-point semantic differential scale, Cronbach’s alpha = .85). As expected, the cookies and the unhealthy slogan were perceived as significantly more unhealthy than the cornflakes and the healthy slogan. The independent variables included were opinion of the participants’ parents and of the participants’ friends on healthy eating behavior (one 7-point semantic differential scale), health consciousness of the participants (eleven 5-point Likert scale with items such as ‘I forgo a lot to eat as healthy as possible’ and ‘I believe others pay more attention to health than me’, Cronbach’s alpha = .85) and eating pattern of the participants (participants had to indicate from a list of eleven healthy and eleven unhealthy food products which ones they usually bought of their own budget and which ones they asked their parents to buy for them). On the basis of the latter two variables the respondents were categorized in ‘health conscious vs. health unconscious’ and ‘healthy vs. unhealthy eaters’. The dependent variables used were attitude towards the ad (five item seven-point semantic differential scales, Cronbach’s alpha = .89), attitude towards the brand (four item five-point Likert scale, Cronbach’s alpha = .91) and purchase intention (four item five-point Likert scale, Cronbach’s alpha = .92). Results Analyses of variance did not reveal a main effect of product or slogan, but did indicate a significant interaction effect between the type of slogan and the type of product. The healthy product led to a significantly more positive Aad, Ab and Pi when promoted by the healthy slogan whereas the unhealthy product got higher scores when promoted by the unhealthy slogan. This indicates that also for youngsters the slogan has to be congruent with the product and that marketers cannot generate more positive attitudes towards an unhealthy product just by promoting it in a healthy way. Taking health consciousness into account, health conscious youngsters responded more favorably to a healthy slogan while the reverse held true for health unconscious youngsters. As a consequence, a first step seems to be to make youngsters more health conscious. As far as current eating pattern is concerned, different slogans did not lead to different responses in people with an unhealthy eating pattern. Healthy eaters, on the other hand, responded more positive to a healthy slogan than an unhealthy slogan. Finally, a model tested by means of structural equation modeling (AMOS), showed that the impact of the opinion of friends is significantly larger than the opinion of parents for unhealthy eaters while the reverse held true for healthy eaters. References Bandyopadhyay S, Kindra G. and Sharp L. (2001), “Is television advertising good for children? Areas of concern and policy implications”, International Journal of Advertising, 20 (1), 89-116 Birch L.L. (1999), “Development of food preferences”, Annual Review Public Health, 19, 41-62 Birch L.L. and Fisher J.O. (1998), “Development of eating behaviours among children and adolescents”, Pediatrics, 101 (3), 539-550 Bolton R.N. (1983), “Modeling the Impact of Television Food Advertising on Children’s Diets”, Current Issues and Research in Advertising, 6 (1), 173-87 Currie C. et al (2004), “Young People's Health in Context: international report from the HBSC 2001/02 survey”, WHO Policy Series: Health policy for children and adolescents Issue 4, WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, online available on: http://www.euro.who.int/Document/e82923.pdf Dodd T. and Morse S. (1994), “The impact of media stories concerning health issues on food product sales: Management”, Journal of Consumer marketing, 11 (2), 17-25 Escobar A. (1999), “Factors influencing children’s dietary practices: a review”, Family Economics and Nutrition Review, 12 (3/4), 45-56 French S.A., Story M. and Jeffrey R.W. (2001), “Environmental Influences on eating and Physical Activity”, Annual Review Public Health, 22, 309-35 Goldberg M.E., Gorn G.J. and Gibson W. (1978), “TV Messages for Snack and Breakfast Foods: Do They Influence Children’s Preferences?”, Journal of Consumer Research, 5 (2), 73-81 Goldberg M.E. (1990), “A quasi-experiment assessing the effectiveness of TV advertising directed to children.”, Journal of Marketing Research, 27 (4), 445-455 Gorn G.J. and Goldberg M.E. (1982), “Behavioral Evidence of the Effects of Televised Food Messages on Children”, Journal of Consumer Research, 9 (2), 200-205 Halford J.C.G. et al. (2004), “Effect of television advertisements for foods on food consumption in children.”, Appetite, 42 (2), 221-225 OFCOM (2004), “Childhood Obesity – Food Advertising in Context. Children’s food choices, parents’ understanding and influence, and the role of food promotion.”, online available on: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/research/consumer_audience_research/tv/food_ads/report.pdf Story M., Neumark-Sztainer D. and French S.A. (2002), “Individual and environmental influences on adolescent eating behaviours”, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Supplement 102 (3), 40-51 WHO (2004), “Health Topics: Obesity”, online available on: http://www.who.int/topics/obesity/en/ Young B., Webley P., Hetherington M. and Zeedyk S. (1996), The role of Television Advertising in Children’s Food Choice, Report commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Young B (2000), “Children’s categorisation of foods”, International Journal of Advertising, 19 (4), 494-508 Young (2003), “Does food advertising influence children’s food choices? A critical review of some of the recent literature”, International Journal of Advertising, 22 (4), 441-59
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Research Centre for Work and Organisation Studies (WOS Bxl), Campus Brussels
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) - miscellaneous

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