Consumers have to want to change: Approach versus avoidance strategies in social marketing to counter alcohol consumption in young people

Published by communicatinghealth on

Presented at the Annual Macromarketing Conference 2018

The Annual Marcomarketing Conference 2018. The Macromarketing Society’s aim is to encourage, facilitate and help disseminate matters related to macromarketing.

By virtue of our focus, we believe that certain propositions deeply matter and their manifestations affect everyone, globally.


Prof Linda Brennan, Dr Marie-Louise Fry, Dr Josephine Previte & Ms Shinyi Chin



This paper presents the results from a controversial social marketing campaign aimed at changing young people’s drinking behaviours. Extant social marketing campaigns use fear, guilt and shame (i.e. negative emotions) to motivate young people away from drinking to excess. However, such campaigns miss the mark when it comes to establishing long-term self-determined responsible drinking behaviours - i.e. moving towards sustained and integrated responsible drinking. In order to establish self-determined and self-motivated behaviours, consumers must be their own agents of change and approach the problem behaviour for their own intrinsic motivational purposes. Extrinsic motivations are unlikely to be sustained over time and require continued renewal of marketing efforts. This research reports findings from a multi-level case study into a social marketing campaign that used social media channels and emotional ambiguity to communicate with young people about the consequences of excessive drinking. The results show that a combination of negative and positive appeals may be useful in engaging young adults in responsible drinking behaviours.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *