Social Advertising and Tobacco
Demand Reduction in Canada
James H. Mintz
Health Canada, Ottawa
Since 1985, social marketing has been a major component of the Canadian government's efforts to reduce tobacco use. Social advertising has been the linchpin of Health Canada's antitobacco social marketing program. Together with legislative measures and antitobacco programming that targets vulnerable segments of the population, social marketing is part of a centrally coordinated and multipronged strategy to reduce tobacco demand in Canada. This chapter describes how research is used in the design, implementation, and evaluation of antitobacco advertising. It describes ad-concept focus testing, awareness monitoring, and impact assessment, as well as two segmentation frameworks that have helped to define the target audience for new messages and evaluate the impact of advertising in changing the attitudes and behaviors of the population.
Health Canada has been in the health promotion business for 17 years. In that time, much has been learned about what works and what does not. It is apparent that raising awareness of an issue and proposing changes in behavior is not enough to actually cause people to eat nutritiously, exercise, quit smoking, or stop driving while under the influence of alcohol. Changing behavior requires a step that bridges the gap between knowing something and actually acting on it. That step is "internalizing" the knowledge and it involves examining one's values and deciding what is important. The strategy used to walk people through that step is often referred to as social marketing, which is defined as "the design, implementation and control of programs