Tit for Tat: A Perspective on Health Care Social Marketing Shock Advertising

Tit for Tat: A Perspective on Health Care Social Marketing Shock Advertising



Tit for Tat: A Perspective on Health Care Social Marketing Shock Advertising


Iuliana Raluca Gheorghe, Andra Victoria Radu, Consuela Mădălina Gheorghe, Octavian Negoiță, Victor Lorin Purcărea

Classification JEL

I12, I18, M37


Heath Care Social Marketing Advertising has always had a controversial perspective, as it promotes behavioral change in individuals. Moreover, the vast majority of social marketing campaigns focus on health prevention in a population, such as smoking, physical activity, alcohol abuse as well as breast cancer. Consequently, in order to assess the desired outcomes, specialists employed shock advertising in the health care social marketing campaigns. This case study concentrates on the effectiveness of a Romanian health care social marketing campaign for smoke prevention. More specifically, the shock social marketing advertisement was part of a smoking prevention campaign launched by the “Marius Nasta” Pneumophtisiology Institute in Bucharest, Romania. The sample consisted of 100 students from the “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, presenting the characteristics of Generation Y. The selected sampling method was the snow ball technique. Further, the shock advertisement was evaluated according to Dahl et al’s classification, as perceived by the health care consumers. The data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire and was analyzed using SPSS version 20. Findings revealed that the vast majority of respondents placed the health care social marketing prevention advertisement in the religious taboo category (42.6%), followed by the moral offensiveness category (22.2%) and sexual references (7.4%), respectively. The mean age of the respondents was 20 and there were 66.7% female respondents and 33.3% male respondents. However, the vast majority of the respondents perceived the prevention smoking health care shock advertisement as not being interesting (35.2%), some have felt pity (9.3%), sadness (7.4%) and even compassion (5.6%). All in all, findings pointed out that shock advertisements used in health care social marketing campaigns have no longer the impact they had, becoming more and more ineffective, in spite of embedding a shock appeal.


shock advertising, marketing communications, taboo advertising, health care services, emotions.

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