Journal of Health Communication vol:12 issue:2 pages:173-185
An experiment was conducted to examine the effect on adolescents of different health appeals (healthy versus unhealthy) in ads for healthy and unhealthy perceived foods. The results did not reveal a main effect of product or slogan, but indicated a significant interaction effect between slogan and product. The healthy slogan only led to significantly more positive attitudes and purchase intentions when it promoted a healthy food product. An unhealthy food product received better results in combination with an unhealthy slogan than with a healthy one. This indicates that adolescents react better to ads in which the health appeal is congruent with the health perception of the product. Moreover, we took into account gender and health concern as potential moderators in the relationship between slogan and ad responses. Gender did not lead to different responses to healthy or unhealthy food ads, whereas health concern did interact significantly with the slogan type. Highly concerned adolescents responded more favorably to a healthy slogan in terms of attitudes. A necessary first step seems to be making adolescents more health conscious. A following step is to reinforce their positive attitudes towards healthy foods and turn them into real behavior.