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Study: The message matters in successful smoking cessation ads

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA — Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania last week reported that an area of the brain that initiates behavioral changes had greater activation in smokers who watched anti-smoking ads with strong arguments versus those with weaker ones, and irrespective of such flashy elements as bright and rapidly changing scenes, loud sounds and unexpected scenario twists. 

“We investigated the two major dimensions of any piece of media, content and format, which are both important here,” said Daniel Langleben, a psychiatrist in the Center for Studies of Addiction at Penn Medicine. “If you give someone an unconvincing ad, it doesn’t matter what format you do on top of that. You can make it sensational. But in terms of effectiveness, content is more important. You’re better off adding in more sophisticated editing and other special effects only if it is persuasive.”

Even ads riddled with attention-grabbing tactics, the research suggests, are not effective at reducing tobacco intake unless their arguments are strong. However, ads with flashy editing and strong arguments, for example, produced better recognition.

“This sets the stage for science-based evaluation and design of persuasive public health advertising,” Langleben said. “An ad is only as strong as its central argument, which matters more than its audiovisual presentation. Future work should consider supplementing focus groups with more technology-heavy assessments, such as brain responses to these ads, in advance of even putting the ad together in its entirety.”

This is the first time research has shown an association between cognition and brain activity in response to content and format in televised ads and behavior, the researchers noted.

Those smokers also had significantly less nicotine metabolites in their urine when tested a month after viewing those ads, the team reported in a new study published online April 23 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

 

 

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FDA appoints Mary Beth Clarke as director of Office of Executive Programs

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A Food and Drug Administration staffer who has led implementation of the Generic Drug User Fee Act has been named to a new director position at the agency, the FDA said Monday.

The FDA announced that it had appointed Mary Beth Clarke as permanent director of the Office of Executive Programs. Clarke had previously served as the OEP’s executive director.

FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock said Clarke had spearheaded coordination of GDUFA-related activities for the center and the Office of Regulatory Affairs, including development of a project plan for human capital and infrastructure, inspections and compliance and user fee collections.

 

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Anheuser-Busch ‘Track Your Bud’ campaign features brewmasters

BY Alaric DeArment

ST. LOUIS — Anheuser-Busch is launching a new advertising campaign that lets Budweiser drinkers track where their beer comes from and how it’s made.

The campaign features fifth-generation brewmaster Pete Kraemer, as well as five regional brewmasters. Kraemer’s job is to ensure that the Budweiser brewed around the world meets the same standards; he also oversees the growing and research of barley in Colorado and hops grown in Germany. Kraemer’s father, Gerhardt, a Hungarian-born German immigrant, was also a brewmaster for the company; Gerhardt Kraemer retired in 2001.

The "Track Your Bud" television campaign, which starts Tuesday, is part of a digital campaign that allows consumers to trace the origin of their beer to one of Budweiser’s 12 breweries in the United States, look at how the beer is made and discover the source of its ingredients.

"I have to admit that I’m a little more comfortable in the brewhouse than on TV, but what I really love about this campaign is that it shows off our outstanding brewmasters, as well as where and how Budweiser is brewed," Kraemer said. "The care that goes into making our beer at all steps of the process is second to none – this app and the TV spots help showcase this."

The ads will also feature brewmasters Jim Bicklein, of St. Louis; Dan Kahn, from Cartersville, Ga.; Aaron Vaughn, from Jacksonville, Fla.; Katie Rippel, from Fort Collins, Colo.; and Dave Taylor, from Newark, N.J. The campaign will feature the company’s St. Louis flagship brewery, as well as breweries in Merrimack, N.H.; Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; Williamsburg, Va.; Cartersville, Ga.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Columbus, Ohio; Houston; Fort Collins, Colo.; Fairfield, Calif.; and Los Angeles.

 

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