Background on Campaigns & Promotions
What are campaigns and promotions strategies?
- Intervention tools used to educate the public about the potential for injuries from falls and to how to prevent falls by changing behaviors and environments.
- Messages can be distributed through television and radio advertisements, press releases, letters to the editor, posters, billboards, websites, brochures, clothing, stickers, websites, and a number of other communication channels. 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 messages, campaigns, and promotions can:
- highlight the association between our environments and the potential for injury from falls (e.g., absence of safety gates and infant falls, absence of handrails and elderly falls)
- promote behavioral change (e.g., physical activity for the elderly, supervising children on playground equipment)
- improve knowledge about the risk of injury from falls
- develop skills related to reducing these risks and challenges
How do campaigns and promotions impact injury from falls?
- Campaigns and promotions, when used alone, are useful in creating community awareness about the types of behaviors and environments that may help to reduce the risk of injury from falls as well as related impacts on health and quality of life. Increasing knowledge and awareness is often the first step to supporting changes in behaviors and the environment. Therefore, campaigns and promotions may be particularly useful in helping individuals become ready to change their behavior.
What are mass media campaigns and how can I use them in my injury from falls intervention?
- Injury from falls campaigns and promotions include mass media campaigns. This intervention tool is designed to increase knowledge and awareness about the relationship between certain behaviors and environmental conditions and the potential for injury from falls. Such campaigns provide specific, easily understood, messages about behaviors (e.g., physical activity, supervising children on playground equipment) or changes to the environment (e.g., installation of hand rails or window guards) that can reduce the risk of injury.
- One of the strengths of mass media campaigns is their ability to reach and educate large numbers of individuals about injury from falls. If, for example, a mass media campaign in a large metropolitan area addresses 500,000 individuals and successfully decreases the number of falls in 3% of the population, then the campaign has impacted the health of 15,000 individuals.
- Additionally, mass media campaigns can minimize staff time once the campaign is up and running because individuals independently read, watch, or listen to the messages. 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.
- Alternatively, mass media campaigns (particularly television advertisements) can be very expensive to create and maintain and may seem impersonal to individuals in need of social support. In addition, these campaigns are difficult to evaluate in terms of measuring 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 is sustained over time.
What should I consider when developing messages for my injury from falls intervention?
- Messages related to injury from falls work best when they are specific, easily understood, and explain how to create the desired behavior.
- The duration of campaigns and promotions influence their effectiveness in changing behavior relating to injury from falls. Small-scale campaigns with specific messages tailored to population subgroups are more effective than larger campaigns among these groups but have lower overall population impact. Likewise, longer, more intensive campaigns featuring more frequent messages through a variety of communication channels are more effective in changing behavior as well as maintaining behavior change over time but are far more complex and costly.
- Messages and communication channels may differ depending on the population of interest. 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 older adults with osteoporosis (e.g., wear hip protectors to prevent serious injuries from falls) and be delivered at senior centers. 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 behaviors and environmental changes related to reducing injury from falls that are particularly salient for the group of interest. For example, parents may be particularly motivated to respond to messages encouraging them to protect the health of their children by installing window guards.
- Campaigns can provide a direct message about the prevention of injury from falls (e.g., the association between slippery surfaces and injury from falls) or an indirect message about changes in behavior, environments, or policies that lead to decreases in injury from falls. For example, a campaign may advocate for installation of handrails.
- Previous work also suggests the importance of framing messages positively rather than negatively (e.g., highlighting the benefits of using window guards rather than the consequences of not using window guards).
- 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 injury from falls intervention?
- It is helpful to work with different community partners to determine the most appropriate messages and ways to communicate those messages. To develop your campaign or promotional intervention, you may need to work with:
- health care agencies
- day care centers
- child welfare agencies
- neighborhood services and organizations (e.g., block groups tenant groups)
- community coalitions
- local businesses
- media and press groups
- TV and radio personnel