Asthma: Campaigns & Promotions
Background on Campaigns & Promotions
What are campaigns and promotions strategies?
- Intervention tools that increase knowledge and awareness of asthma as a community health problem as well as increase the prevention and management of asthma.
- They can occur through television and radio advertisements, newspapers, and advertisements in medical journals, billboards, brochures, clothing, stickers, and a number of other communication channels. Many of these campaigns use well-known public figures, such as sports figures, to convey their message. One of the most important lessons learned from previous work is the importance of using consistent messages across a variety of communication channels (e.g., print, television, radio).
- Using specific asthma messages, campaigns and promotions can:
- increase awareness of asthma (e.g., environmental allergens that contribute to symptoms),
- promote behavior changes to minimize the impact of asthma (e.g., proper use of medications),
- change community norms (e.g., reduce exposure to environmental triggers such as pets and dust mites).
How do campaigns and promotions impact asthma related behaviors?
- Campaigns and promotions are particularly useful in creating community awareness about the importance of asthma prevention and management to health and quality of life. Increasing knowledge and awareness is often the first step to supporting behavior change (e.g., proper use of medications). Therefore, campaigns and promotions may be particularly useful in helping individuals become ready to change their behavior.
- Previous work has suggested that those interventions that incorporate campaigns and promotions as well as strategies that act to create changes in environmental exposure or provide individualized education are more effective than the use of campaigns and promotions alone. For example, campaigns and promotions may be connected to efforts to reduce exposure to things in the environment that trigger asthma symptoms.
What are mass media campaigns and how can I use them in my asthma intervention?
- Asthma campaigns and promotions are largely comprised of mass media campaigns. This intervention tool is designed to translate what are often complicated asthma messages into specific, easily understood messages. Mass media campaigns also serve to increase knowledge and awareness about the relationship between asthma and the environment, change attitudes and community norms, and describe how to take medications properly.
- One of the strengths of mass media campaigns is their ability to reach and educate large numbers of individuals about asthma. If, for example, a mass media campaign in schools in a large metropolitan area addresses 500,000 students and successfully increases the diagnosis and treatment of asthma in 3% of the student population, then the campaign has impacted the health of 15,000 children.
- Additionally, mass media campaigns can minimize staff time once the campaign has launched because individuals read, watch, or listen to the messages on their own. They can also be relatively less expensive per person if the intervention is targeting a large community. Reaching this many people through other intervention strategies may require more time and funding that is often unavailable. Finally, the messages and materials have the ability to be reused or updated for long-term efforts.
- Mass media campaigns (particularly television advertisements) can be very expensive to get started and may seem impersonal to individuals in need of social support. In addition, these campaigns are difficult to evaluate in terms of tracking how many individuals actually received or read the messages, whether individuals changed behavior as a result of the mass media campaign and whether the behavior change has been sustained over time.
What should I consider when developing messages for my asthma intervention?
- The most appropriate asthma messages and ways to communicate those messages may differ depending upon the target population. Campaigns and promotions may be intended for an entire community or they can be targeted to meet the needs or interests of a particular group. For example, the message may be geared toward individuals with asthma (children or adults), family and other caregivers, or health care providers. Alternately, messages may be conveyed in different languages and address cultural norms in different communities (e.g., Spanish, Vietnamese).
- Messages are often most effective if they are geared toward specific changes in knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs about asthma that are particularly salient for the group of interest (e.g., parents of children with asthma).
- Interventions provide a direct message about asthma (e.g., proper use of medications) or they can provide an indirect message about changes in behavior, environments or policies that lead to increases in the prevention and management of asthma (e.g., support of local ordinances to reduce environmental exposures).
- Previous work also suggests the importance of framing messages positively rather than negatively (i.e., highlighting the benefits of controlling asthma symptoms rather than the consequences of not controlling these symptoms).
- In addition, promotional items may be used to promote awareness of (i.e., branding) the intervention or enhance ability of individuals to engage in desired behavior(s).
With whom should I work to create the best message for my asthma intervention?
- To develop your campaign or promotion or to determine the most appropriate messages and ways to communicate those messages, it is often helpful to work with different community partners. Examples of potential partners include:
- consumer organizations
- health departments
- metropolitan centers
- rural areas
- media personnel (e.g., newspaper, billboards)
- advertising agencies
- professional athletes
- county officials/community leaders
- government agencies
- community members
- television and radio personnel
- civic organizations/ community organizations (Head Start, Girl Scouts, YMCA, youth, environment)