Author(s)Le, Uyen Lili
College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences
Media, Film, and Journalism Studies
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AbstractAudience segmentation is a crucial component of health promotion campaigns as it is believed to support health-related campaigns to achieve greater benefits. However, there are numerous concerns about the ethicality of audience segmentation. For instance, Newton, Newton, Turk, and Ewing (2013) stated that audience segmentation can create inequalities between different groups of audiences. In addition, unintended audience and consequences are often excluded from health campaign planning and execution. These factors can negatively affect the campaign by creating adverse impacts. As a matter of fact, the prominent challenge of health promotion is sustaining the connection between ethics and effectiveness for promotional activities and processes. Thus, it is important to investigate this relationship under a health-related lens to support health campaigns to be more audience-centric and contextually and culturally appropriate, and better providing fair health distribution and producing long-term beneficial outcomes. The study used a binge drinking prevention campaign on campus to test the hypotheses. It conducted an online survey with 360 participants from the students and employees at the University of Denver (DU) to examine three aspects: 1) The impacts of health messages on the intended and unintended audiences; 2) The effects of ethical segmentation on the audience; And 3) The relationship between audience, intended and unintended, and consequences, intended and unintended. In particular, there was not a distinguishing difference in the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impacts between intended audience members who were assigned targeted messages and those assigned non-targeted messages or between intended audience members and unintended audience members. Additionally, non-consequentialist targeting can create the same level of impacts on the intended and unintended audiences as consequentialist targeting. Moreover, unintended audience members were less likely to stigmatize the targeted audience than intended audience members when consequentialist targeting was used. In conclusion, the study finds that non-consequentialism can be a useful tool to ensure the ethicality and effectiveness of audience segmentation in health promotion as it takes into consideration the intended and unintended effects health campaign may have on both intended and unintended audiences.