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Marketing messages in food and alcohol magazine advertisements, variations across type and nutritional content of promoted products: a content analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Wendy Burke, Dr Jean Adams


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'Marketing messages' are the themes used in advertisements to promote products. We explored the frequency of different marketing messages used in food and alcohol advertisements in UK women's magazines and associations with the type and nutritional content of products promoted.All advertisements for food and alcohol in 108 issues of popular UK monthly women's magazines were identified and text-based marketing messages classified using a bespoke coding framework. This information was linked to existing data on the type (i.e. food group) and nutritional content of advertised products.A total of 2 687 marketing messages were identified in 726 advertisements. Consumer messages such as 'taste' and 'quality' were most frequently found. Marketing messages used in advertisements for food and alcohol were notably different. The relationship between type and nutritional content of products advertised and marketing messages used was not intuitive from a consumer perspective: advertisements for foods 'high in fat and/or sugar' were less likely to use messages related to health, but more likely to use messages emphasizing reduced amounts of specific nutrients.Almost all advertisements included consumer-related marketing messages. Marketing messages used were not always congruent with the type or nutritional content of advertised products. These findings should be considered when developing policy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pitts A, Burke W, Adams J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Public Health

Year: 2014

Volume: 36

Issue: 3

Pages: 417-425

Print publication date: 01/09/2014

Online publication date: 25/07/2013

ISSN (print): 1741-3842

ISSN (electronic): 1741-3850

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdt072

PubMed id: 23892618


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