What role can advertising play in healthy behaviour?

Editorial Board

Editorial Board

April 18th, 2012

Editorial Board

Emotions play a major role when we make decisions about health, according to advertising executive Paul Arnold, so telling stories can help communicate complex ideas.

He said advertising, along with social media, can be part of a holistic communication campaign on crucial health issues like immunisation. New media have already shifted the balance of power, meaning that it is naïve to rely on one-way messaging to engage the public.

Evidence from psychology and experience from the advertising industry shows that people are driven more to avoid fear than to seek pleasure, he said. “The truth is that fear-based emotion-grabbing stories are more effective than the ‘nice’ ones.”

Mr Arnold was speaking to Vaccines Today at a conference on immunisation policy hosted by Fondation Merieux.