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Designing Persuasive Messages in Health Campaigns
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Designing Persuasive Messages in Health Campaigns



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  • 1. MESSAGE DESIGN ISSUES Constructing Persuasive Messages 10/10/2012
  • 2. Inputs Source (who?) Message (says what?) Channel (via which media?) Audience (to whom?) Destination (regarding what?) Greatest level of control by campaign planners
  • 3. Source Three characteristic of source:  Credibility – source’s perceived expertise and trustworthiness  Issue-advocacy ads (who speaks for who’s benefits?)  Attractiveness – source’s pleasantness, beauty, familiarity, similarity  Power – compliance Cognitive process and persuasive impact Theory of Source Monitoring (Negiyan & Grabe, 2007)  Memory & schematic (prior) knowledge  Content and source identification perceptions  Format and time affects
  • 4. The structure of argument  Audience belief system  Media genres – format characteristics, message structure (folk-story structure?)  music, sound Types of argument  Use of logic or rhetoric  Arrangement of argument Types of appeals (Reeves, et al., 1991)  Logical (use language of evidence and facts)  Emotional (language, imagery) Message variables
  • 5. Message variables, cont. Message-style variables  Using factual examples vs. abstract principles  Literal vs. figurative language  Toulmin’s Structural Model of Argument  Claims (positive or negative)  using fact, value, or policy  Warrants (implicit or explicit)  Data (first, second, and third order) Effects based on length and frequency  Time of spot; size and detail of print ad; amount of information  Frequency (repetitive ads)
  • 6. Image vs. Issue Content and effect (Johnston & Kaid, 2002)  Political Ads  How can voters make rational decisions?  Image construction as manipulation  Campaigns ethics  will this influence audience’s decision?  Issue content  Image content More issues in political ads than TV news Issue of dramatization Hard vs. soft sell Can you dichotomize these two?
  • 7. Channel variables Media use  Which audiences? Which media? Which content? Which time? Evidence  Evidence for intended television effects on purchasing behavior  Evidence for unintended television effects within programs Arguments and excuses for lack of evidence effects  We can control the input, but not the outcome
  • 8. Audience variables A Mediational Theory of Susceptibility to social influence  Personality  Abilities  Motivations Special target groups (Pfau et al., 2002)  Political party affiliation
  • 9. Destination: campaign intention Beliefs, attitudes, and behavior  Favorability to the topic increase positive attitudes/feelings and behavior  Change in one of the three tends to affect others Persistence of persuasive impact  Decay in attitudes  varies greatly depending on source credibility, subtlety of argument, order of presentation, channel Inducing resistance to persuasion  Many approaches, e.g., prior commitment, pre-anger/increased self-esteem, anchoring initial stand, educate about critical thinking, resistant models, and inoculation
  • 10. Output: How persuasion works? Mediators of persuasive impact  Multiple paths, e.g., peripheral with source credibility or central with situation  Sequences of the mediating processes  Communicating recall and liking Decision process evoked by persuasive communication  Cognitive calculation of costs and benefits  Cognitive shortcuts to “bringing to mind”  Remote ramifications and generalization carry-over  Subjective norms and valued “others” beliefs/feelings
  • 11. Symbolism and Language Cicero’s five canons of rhetoric  Invention  Arrangement  Style (expression)  Memory  Delivery Know the audience  how they decode message
  • 12. Symbolism and Language, cont. Cultural competency  Certain symbols or language is specific to certain culture  Violation of normative expectations Verbal intensity (metaphors) Verbal immediacy (direct/immediate speech)