A mixed methods evaluation of televised health promotion advertisements targeted at older adults

Tanya R. Berry, John C. Spence, Ronald C. Plotnikoff, Adrian Bauman, Linda Mccargar, Chad Witcher, Marianne Clark, Sean Stolp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this research was to evaluate television advertisements targeted at 55–70-year olds that promoted physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption. Awareness of the campaign, perceived credibility of the source, intentions to visit a promoted website, and intentions to perform the healthy behaviors were evaluated using mixed methods research. Results from a population level survey (n = 1600) showed low unprompted and prompted awareness of the campaign and no differences in intentions or behaviors among those who were aware of the campaign. Unprompted recall resulted in a very wide range of responses including the citation of many commercial advertisers. Qualitative themes that emerged from the focus groups included neutral, positive, and negative comments about the advertisements, source credibility, website considerations specific to seniors, and suggestions about appropriate advertising for older adults. This research showed that the increased attention paid to the advertisements was due in a large part to negative reactions to the character used in the advertisements. Another important finding was the government was not considered to be a credible source of health information. Finally, health promoters should be cautious about websites as the primary source of information, particularly for older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-288
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


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