Charles K. Atkin and Ronald E. Rice
This chapter presents an overview of the recent literature on the persuasive effects of public communication campaigns. The scope of the review is substantial, ranging from traditional media to new technologies and from US settings to developing countries. The campaign topics primarily deal with health promotion, along with prosocial behavior and environmental reforms. The chapter examines key theoretical concepts, processes, and strategic guidelines, including campaign design, evaluation (formative, process and summative), types of effects (direct and indirect), messages (prevention vs. promotion vs. informational vs. persuasive, and appeals), message sources, mediated communication, and quantitative dissemination factors. The chapter then illustrates these guidelines with three campaign foci: drug use, smoking, and risky drinking.
Public communication campaigns encompass strategies for producing effects on knowledge, attitudes, and behavior across a variety of domains, including political, prosocial, environmental, and health outcomes. Definitions of public communication campaigns typically specify the following components: Purposive attempts to inform, persuade, or motivate behavior changes in a relatively well-defined and large audience, generally for noncommercial benefits to the individuals and/or society at large, within a given time period, ...