The ‘Real Cost’ of Campaigns: Ends Campaign Effectiveness in Terms of Awareness and Content

Brandon Donohoe, University of Rhode Island


Over the past few years, the use of electronic cigarettes and other vaping related products has spiked. This has quickly become an epidemic amongst the younger generations. These people did not smoke cigarettes before but are now addicted to nicotine. In an attempt to fight off the companies that are marketing these devices to teens and young adults, various anti-vaping campaigns have been launched. Two of the most notable and prevalent campaigns are the FDA’s “The Real Cost” and the Truth Initiative’s “Truth”. Using previously tested methods, this study compares and attempts to account for the short-term effectiveness, or lack thereof, of these two campaigns. Campaign awareness, motivation and message content are the key measures used in this study. The content is analyzed using the Elaboration Likelihood Model to measure the identification of central and peripheral cues. Three graduate students ran a content analysis on videos produced by these organizations and 138 students were surveyed regarding their awareness of the campaigns, vaping interest/motivation, and their perceptions of a video advertisement. Students were more likely to identify the central cues, but the peripheral predictors were the only ones found to be significant. Motivation is also a significant predictor of PSA effectiveness. It is recommended that the campaigns use better audience targeting and segmentation to identify individuals with a high motivation, or interest in vaping. Emotional Appeal is the most significant predictor of video effectiveness.

Subject Area

Mass communications|Communication|Marketing

Recommended Citation

Brandon Donohoe, "The ‘Real Cost’ of Campaigns: Ends Campaign Effectiveness in Terms of Awareness and Content" (2020). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI28263466.