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Unjust Targeting: How Marketing Features Impact Consumer Response and Tobacco Use

Principal Investigator: Meghan Bridgid Moran

Funding Mechanism:  National Institutes of Health- Grant

ID Number: 1K01DA037903-01

Award Date: 7/25/2014

Institution:  Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 

Certain “high impact” tobacco marketing features (e.g., colors, descriptors, branding, marketing claims) may be effective in appealing to particular ethic groups and thus may produce inequitable outcomes in tobacco use. The goal of this project is to connect tobacco marketing features with consumer affective, cognitive and physiological responses to marketing images, product perceptions, and use outcomes in ethnically diverse populations. Specific aims are: (1) to describe tobacco marketing features targeted towards African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, and non-Hispanic whites; (2) to identify how marketing features impact responses to ads among Latinos and Latino subgroups (e.g., Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Central American, South American); and (3) for each ethnic group, to demonstrate how people initiate and change tobacco product use as a result of advertising awareness and to identify marketing features associated with product use. To accomplish Aim 1, researchers will link tobacco marketing data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study to data from a PATH ad-hoc study of tobacco marketing images in order to identify which ads appeal to each ethnic group and to generate an inventory of high-impact marketing features for each product. To accomplish Aim 2, researchers will conduct online and laboratory-based studies with 1,100 subjects aged 18-24; the researchers will manipulate ad features in order to investigate which features most impact product perceptions and use intentions. To accomplish Aim 3, researchers will link PATH study data to data from the PATH ad hoc study to determine which ads have the greatest impact on tobacco use over time in each ethnic group and to identify the marketing features associated with ad effectiveness. By identifying the key marketing features that impact consumer responses and connecting those responses to tobacco use outcomes over time, project findings may be used to inform regulation regarding tobacco marketing.

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