Public Health Institute Advertising Testing | MDRG

Public Health Institute Advertising Testing

Peter Schamp

Strategic Insights Manager

Louisiana Public Health Institute Advertising Testing

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A statewide tobacco control program came to MDRG seeking help in developing and evaluating an advertising campaign that promoted the dangers of secondhand smoke (SHS). MDRG recommended a combined approach leveraging both qualitative and quantitative research to understand the motivating factors that could be dialed up and impact the advertising.


The objectives of the qualitative research included:

  • Gauge awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • Understand the relevance of proposed messages
  • Pre-test advertising concepts and campaigns in the form of storyboards

The objectives of the quantitative research included:

  • Measure awareness of the tobacco control program’s brand and other similar entities
  • Measure attitudes towards and perceptions of the program
  • Measure belief and/or support for key messages


First, MDRG conducted 8 focus group sessions with adults across Louisiana. Information from the focus groups informed the advertising campaign. One of the key findings derived from the focus groups was that non-smokers were not ready to “demand” their rights of smoke-free air, nor did they feel like a majority. Further, non-smokers did not realize the specific dangers and health impacts of SHS. The research indicated that the media campaign should focus on why consumers should care about SHS and empower non-smokers as the majority.

MDRG also conducted a telephone survey with the media campaign’s target (non-smokers across Louisiana) in 3 separate waves (1 pre-advertising wave and 2 post-advertising waves).


The research resulted in an effective advertising campaign for the client. MDRG was able to demonstrate the specific strengths of the campaign:

  • Awareness of the program’s brand increased from 27% in the pre-wave to 59% in Wave 2 and 60% in Wave 3
  • More than 3 out of 4 (77%) respondents recalled advertising about the dangers of SHS
  • Support for the program’s concept continued to be strong throughout the campaign and about 8 out of 10 respondents in each wave agreed that non-smokers have the right to speak up about the negative effects of SHS
  • The campaign was successful by providing a strong visual and facts to teach consumers about SHS and its dangers without encouraging them to be overtly confrontational