New Haven, CT, September 18, 2002 - An egg sizzling in a frying pan as the viewer is told: "This is your brain on drugs." That vivid image was used during a successful anti-drug television campaign created by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) to change societal attitudes about drugs and reduce drug consumption among teens.
"Anti-drug advertising works," according to Subrata K. Sen of the Yale School of Management. Sen, along with colleagues Lauren G. Block of Baruch College, Vicki G. Morwitz of New York University Stern School of Business, and William P. Putsis, Jr. of London Business School co-authored the study: Assessing the Impact of Antidrug Advertising on Adolescent Drug Consumption: Results From a Behavioral Economic Model, which was recently published by The American Journal of Public Health.
This study evaluated the effectiveness of drug-education messages from the PDFA from 1987 to 1990, measuring whether the advertising campaign was associated with a change in adolescents' drug use. The research findings suggest that by 1990 - after three years of anti-drug television advertisements - drug use was reduced by approximately 9%. Additionally, the team observed that the decrease in drug consumption came at a time when anti-drug ads had increasing levels of national media exposure and public visibility. During this timeframe, pro bono media support for anti-drug advertising increased from a low of $115 million in 1987 to a high of $365 million in 1991.
"The behavioral economic model we used as researchers indicated that the more adolescents perceive themselves to be susceptible to the negative consequences of drug abuse, the less likely they are to use drugs," explained Professor Sen. "Our findings have important public policy implications, since the increase in funding for anti-drug advertising appears to have been a worthwhile investment," Sen added.
Objectives: This study examined whether teens' recall of anti-drug advertising is associated with a decreased probability of using illicit drugs and, given drug use, a reduced volume of use.
Methods: The researchers developed a behavioral economic model of influences on drug consumption with survey data from a nationally representative sample of adolescents to determine the incremental impact of anti-drug advertising.
Conclusions: The results provide support for the effectiveness of anti-drug advertising programs.
About the authors:
Subrata K. Sen is the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Professor of Organization, Management, and Marketing at the Yale School of Management. In addition to anti-drug advertising, Professor Sen examines the pricing of product bundles, the efficiency of consumer choices, diffusion of innovations, and the value of celebrity endorsements. He has been a consultant to many large organizations, including IBM, DuPont, and Citibank. Professor Sen has served as editor of Marketing Science and as a member of the advisory board of the Journal of Consumer Research. He is currently a member of the Policy Board of Marketing Letters.
Lauren G. Block is Associate Professor of Marketing at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, New York. Prior to this, she was on the faculty at the Stern School of Business, New York University (1992 - 2000). Her research includes advertising and consumer behavior, and her primary work is on the effective use of media to encourage good health behavior. Professor Block's research has aided top medical centers and state departments of health with prevention programs for substance abuse, cancer, and heart disease. She has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. Professor Block has served as consultant for an international telecommunications company and for one of the largest European gaming software companies.
Vicki G. Morwitz is Associate Professor of Marketing at the Stern School of Business, New York University. Her research interests include the relationship between intentions and behavior, new product development, behavioral aspects of pricing, and the effects of responding and exposure to market research surveys on attitudes, intentions and behavior. Her work has appeared in Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, and Marketing Letters, as well as Principles of Forecasting: A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Interactive Marketing. She has worked at IBM, Prodigy Services, and RCA.
William P. Putsis (M.S., Ph. D., Cornell University) is currently Professor of Marketing at the London Business School (since 1997). Prior to this time, he was on the faculty of the Yale School of Management, Yale University (1990-1997) and Cornell University (1988-1990). His research and academic pursuits focus on the empirical application of game theoretic models of competition, competitive strategy, the marketing of private label products, new product diffusion and product line strategy, international marketing, advertising and communications research, and sports marketing. He has numerous scholarly articles published in academic journals and serves on the editorial boards of Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Research in Marketing, the Review of Marketing Science and the International Journal of Marketing Education.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America® is a coalition of communications professionals - from advertising, the media industry, public relations, research companies, actors guilds, production companies - dedicated to one mission: to help kids and teens reject substance abuse by influencing attitudes through persuasive information. Its mission unfolds primarily in the form of a research-based national advertising campaign created by hundreds of volunteers who comprise the Partnership.
For an interview with Professor Sen, contact Media Relations at the Yale School of Management, (203) 432-6010. For an interview with Professor Morwitz, contact Public Affairs Director, Caren Piela, at the NYU Stern School of Business, (212) 998-0615.