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From informational towards transformational advertising strategies? A content analysis of Belgian food magazine advertisements

Gudrun Roose (Department of Marketing, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)
Maggie Geuens (Department of Marketing, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium) (Vlerick Business School, Ghent, Belgium)
Iris Vermeir (Department of Marketing, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 6 June 2018

Issue publication date: 4 July 2018

1132

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to perform a preliminary examination of informational and transformational advertising appeals in contemporary advertisements for healthy and unhealthy foods.

Design/methodology/approach

Western (European) food advertisements published in Belgian food magazines were content analyzed to identify informational and transformational advertising appeals. Belgian food advertising was selected as an adequate representation of Western (European) food advertising because marketing in Belgium is permeated by international influences (cf. Belgian Federal Government). Advertisements were sampled from three magazines over a period of five years, from January 2009 to December 2013. The sample comprised 325 unique advertisements, including 159 for healthy foods and 166 for unhealthy foods.

Findings

The results of the content analysis indicated that healthy food advertisements in Belgium are mainly informational, whereas unhealthy food advertisements are mainly transformational.

Originality/value

This preliminary examination of informational and transformational advertising appeals in contemporary healthy food and unhealthy food advertisements shows that healthy food advertisements in Belgium are mainly informational, whereas the segment of consumers which is precarious – people low-involved with healthy food – are mainly attracted by transformational advertising appeals. The contrasting transformational strategy of unhealthy-food advertisements can provide inspiration for healthy food advertisers to help increase healthy food consumption.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology under Grant IWT.141416.

Citation

Roose, G., Geuens, M. and Vermeir, I. (2018), "From informational towards transformational advertising strategies? A content analysis of Belgian food magazine advertisements", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 6, pp. 1170-1182. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-10-2017-0559

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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