The effect of antismoking advertisement executional characteristics on youth comprehension, appraisal, recall, and engagement

Yvonne Terry-Mcelrath, Melanie Wakefield, Erin Ruel, George I. Balch, Sherry Emery, Glen Szczypka, Katherine Smith, Brian Flay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article examines how two executional characteristics of antismoking advertising may interact with other relevant advertising features to affect youth comprehension, appraisal, recall of, and engagement with antismoking ads. Fifty antismoking ads made by tobacco control agencies, tobacco companies, and pharmaceutical companies were appraised by 268 youth using an audience response methodology with a follow-up component. Analyses show that thematic and executional characteristics varied both across and within ad sponsor, and that executional characteristics of "personal testimonial" and "visceral negative" clearly had the strongest and most consistent effect on appraisal, recall, and level of engagement. Antismoking advertisements are not alike in their ability to engage youth. Advocates attempting to develop increasingly successful antismoking campaigns should consider the executional characteristics of proposed ads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-143
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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