Six-step model to improve public health

An international research project on healthy eating habits has resulted in a new six-step model. The model will help to streamline public health campaigns and thereby improve public health.

2012.04.16 | Camilla Hyldmar Knudsen

A research project set up by the European Commission with researchers from Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences, shows that commercial marketing campaigns for healthy foods can help to improve the impact of public health campaigns. As part of the project, a model has been prepared that draws on success factors from the private sector.

The model consists of six main components which should be incorporated in the planning of public health campaigns. According to Assistant Professor Jessica Aschemann-Witzel, the model is a good tool for public campaign planners:

“The model shows which success factors generally make commercial marketing campaigns effective. It helps to provide an overview of what has already been done, and what needs to be done in future, says Jessica Aschemann-Witzel, who co-developed the model.

Public campaigns must stimulate emotions
By analysing 27 commercial European marketing campaigns within health and foods which have all been hugely successful on the European consumer markets, researchers have identified the success factors. The list includes, among other things, knowledge about trends in society and the use of stronger emotionally engaging elements that arouse recipients’ feelings.

“Emotional campaigns give recipients the opportunity to relate to the message, thereby instilling a sense of shared values,” says Jessica Aschemann-Witzel.

However, she stresses that the model must not be considered as the ultimate key to success, but rather as an inspirational tool:

“The model serves as a kind of checklist for using when planning public health campaigns,” says Jessica Aschemann-Witzel, adding that cooperation between the public and private sectors is an advantage when designing campaigns.

“Public health campaigns have generally had a limited effect on the population. The private sector possesses considerable knowledge in this field, and it is this knowledge which the model taps into,” says Jessica Aschemann-Witzel.              

Six groups of success factors were identified as being the most relevant characteristics of successful commercial marketing campaigns for healthy eating. Each group consists of a further two to three success factors.

- The project is called EATWELL, and is supported by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for research.
- The aim of the project was to gather empirical data about successful commercial marketing campaigns within health and food in order to improve public health campaigns.
- In a case study analysis, 27 successful commercial marketing campaigns from different European countries were collected within the field.
- The success factors were identified by a group of experts.
- The project results will soon be published in the journal BMC Public Health. 

Further information

Jessica Aschemann-Witzel, Assistant Professor
Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences
Department of Marketing and Organisation
Tel.: +45 8716 5217


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