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Sugar Under Fire Again Amid Allegations Industry Funding Diverted Scientific and Consumer Attention to Fat

featured / in the news / health communication / social marketing / research
Deny and subvert. South Park’s parody of Tom Brady’s strategy for dealing with bad press could easily be applied to a number of people, industries, or contexts. The latest in the spotlight is the sugar industry—under fire last week amid allegations the industry funded and influenced research with an agenda to shift the blame to fat. The outcome, many are arguing, was a potentially misplaced focus on low-fat diets…which opened the door for increased sugar consumption and contributed over several decades to the challenges we face with chronic diseases and obesity. Deflategate may be fizzling out with Brady halfway through his suspension, but the sugar industry’s woes are seemingly just beginning. Sugar Advertisement The latest uproar was sparked... more
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Tried and True Innovation: Highlights from NCHCMM 2016

communication / research / conferences / featured / social marketing / public health
Last week several members of the FMG Team traveled to Atlanta, GA for the 10th Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media (NCHCMM). This was the third year that FMG attended the conference, and as in the past, had a chance to walk away with lessons learned and best practices from communicators and scientists.  NCHCMM 10th Anniversary One of my favorite conference sessions featured panel members: Dr. Lenora Johnson, Tony Foleno, Dr. Gary Kreps, and Dr. Heather Cole-Lewis reflecting on the past 10 years and speculating what the next 10 will bring. Most notably, in the last 10 years there’s been a substantial shift in the way we communicate. For instance,... more
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Another Big Move by Big Tobacco: More E-cigarettes Go Nationwide

blog / tobacco / social marketing / health research / featured
If you’ve been following our blog, you may have read several blog posts over the past few months on electronic cigarettes (more commonly known as e-cigarettes). These e-cigarettes are in the middle of a long-standing debate between tobacco companies and public health advocates. Do these e-cigarettes offer a less dangerous alternative to using combustible cigarettes or is there insufficient evidence to state these as a tool to help smokers quit? Or are they another way to get nonsmokers addicted to nicotine? To add fuel to the debate, a subsidiary of Reynolds American announced June 23 that it will start distributing its Vuse e-cigarettes nationwide. NuMark, a subsidiary of Altria, also plans to distribute MarkTen, its e-cigarette brand, nationwide by the end of 2014.... more
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What’s in a Name? Highlights from 23rd Social Marketing (Not Media!) Conference

featured / conferences / social marketing / blog
Something I love about social marketing is that it frames difficult challenges in a manner that encourages optimism, energy, and action. One challenge that seems to generate more frustration than optimism though is the common mix-up of social marketing with social media (or social media marketing). In fact, last week’s 23rd Social Marketing Conference was kicked off with a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer: if you’re here to learn about social media, you’ll be disappointed (Get out. Just kidding. But, seriously). Despite the angst over the confusion, social marketing does use social media as a tool. Which got me curious – what were social marketers abuzz about on social media during the conference last week? Twitter Topics at USFmore
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World No Tobacco Day: The higher the tax, the less death and disease

tobacco / social marketing / behavioral research / current events / blog
On May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners around the world will celebrate World No Tobacco Day. This year’s theme is to raise taxes on tobacco. According to WHO, research shows that higher taxes are especially effective in reducing tobacco use among lower-income groups and in preventing young people from starting to smoke. Increasing excise taxes on tobacco is considered to be the most cost effective tobacco control measure. The World Health Report 2010 indicated that a 50% increase in tobacco excise taxes would generate a little more than $1.4 billion in additional funds in 22 low-income countries. Hi Megan We already see the positive impact of high tobacco taxes in the United States.... more
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Totes Ma Goats: With invasive species month ending, goats join the cause.

client work / current events / social marketing / blog
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) declared April as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month and asked that people join a fight they can’t win alone. In one Michigan county, APHIS will have some unlikely helpers too – goats! Starting next month, goats will graze on invasive species as part of a parks department pilot program. Though experts have deemed invasive species a serious risk, many laypeople don’t think invasive species are particularly dangerous or relevant (and thus don’t allocate many if any resources to learning about them or reducing them). A lack of public engagement and shared responsibility is problematic given a simple action or uninformed decision can wreak havoc on our environment. For example, a seemingly harmless souvenir... more
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The bigger victory: Nationals star discusses struggle to quit dip as National Public Health Week begins

behavioral research / health research / social marketing / youth / blog
The Nationals’ home opener may not have gone as planned, but yesterday they came through with the win and a stellar kickoff to another opening day – that of National Public Health Week (NPHW). Ian Desmond delivered the game-winning homer against the Braves, but the “bigger victory” he spoke of after the game was going the entire game without dip. Like many other tobacco users, Desmond began his habit as a teenager – underscoring the importance of prevention efforts (a key theme of this year’s NPHW). Nationals star Ian Desmond Through his description of his struggle to quit, Desmond highlighted several themes potentially key to the success of prevention efforts.
  1. Tradition. more
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She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny… E-Cigarettes ad bikini?

advertising research / health research / social marketing / blog / youth
In past posts, I’ve discussed the frustrating genius that is Blu’s “take back your freedom” approach to some of its advertising. I’m less than impressed, however, with the sex sells tactics that dominate a second line of ads. But not (only) for the reasons you may think. Working on smokeless tobacco issues over the past year, I’ve become increasingly aware of the delicacy with which we must communicate about products that, while not harmless, may be less risky alternatives for current smokers. Blu E-Cig Bikini Ad The same harm-reduction tension dominates the e-cigarettes debate. Whether e-cigs are a cessation tool or a catalyst for new users to start a habit of smoking is hotly contested. Earlier... more
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E-Cigarette Companies Ring in the New Year with New Ads and New Tricks

advertising research / behavioral research / health research / blog / social marketing
E-cigarette companies had a booming year in sales and marketing in 2013 and they’re not stopping until someone (the FDA) makes them. I first reported on e-cigarettes back in early November, but little has changed to federally regulate them. Companies are still able to promote their products in all media outlets, social media included. However, some states and cities are establishing their own regulations. On December 19, New York City Council passed a bill that now bans e-cigarettes wherever smoking is also prohibited (1). This includes restaurants, bars, parks, and office buildings. Advocates of the bill said that e-cigarettes confused bartenders, waitresses, and other enforcers of the existing smoking ban (2). NY councilman James Gennaro, one of the lead sponsors of the ban, believes... more
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Social Marketing and Beyonce Singing the Same Tune? Not Quite.

advertising research / behavioral research / in the news / blog / current events / social marketing
Last week Beyoncé set the Internet abuzz when she released a surprise new album in what some have called a stroke of social marketing genius. A great example of a common mix-up between social media marketing and social marketing, Beyoncé’s album release isn’t social marketing as we think of it. However, we’ve been excited to see social marketing (i.e., the application of marketing principles and techniques to plan, implement and evaluate social change programs (1)) trending in 2013 as well. The appeal of social marketing lies in its utility in producing behavior change through a consumer oriented approach. More and more, evidence suggests there’s more to behavior change than a rational, well-thought-out argument. This is an idea that seems second nature for marketers of products... more
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