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Social marketing communication messages: How congruence between source and content influences physical activity attitudes

Jane McKay-Nesbitt (Department of Marketing, Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island, USA.)
Sukki Yoon (Department of Marketing, Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island, USA.)

Journal of Social Marketing

ISSN: 2042-6763

Article publication date: 5 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines how social marketing communication messages influence physical activity attitudes when a health organization is revealed as the message source.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines how social marketing communication messages influence physical activity attitudes when a health organization is revealed as the message source.

Findings

Results from three studies using experimentally manipulated messages (Studies 1 and 3) and real TV commercials (Study 2) suggest that work-framed social marketing communication messages may be more effective than fun-framed messages when the sponsoring health organization is disclosed, versus not disclosed in the ad.

Research limitations/implications

This research extends the literature on source-effects on message effectiveness by suggesting that the type of message sponsor (i.e. a health organization) may influence attitudes toward the physical activity promoted in the message content.

Practical implications

The results suggest that health organizations may be able to maximize communication effectiveness by employing work – rather than fun-framed messages, when it is evident that the message source is a health organization. When individuals are unaware that a health organization is the message source or when a non-health organization is the message source, fun-framed messages may be as effective for encouraging physical activity.

Social implications

This research may assist health organizations to make the best use of their limited resources by providing guidance for the development of social marketing communication messages that encourage people to be physically active.

Originality/value

Although source effects on marketing message effectiveness have been well established in the marketing literature, this study is the first to suggest that a health-organization message source interacts with work- versus fun-framed message content to impact the persuasiveness of messages designed to encourage physical activity.

Keywords

Citation

McKay-Nesbitt, J. and Yoon, S. (2015), "Social marketing communication messages: How congruence between source and content influences physical activity attitudes", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 40-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSOCM-04-2013-0021

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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