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Novel approaches to effective youth health messaging

Geno Church, BA, Spike Jones, BA, Scott Gould, BA, MA, and Carmen Ashley, MPH, CHES. Brains on Fire, 148 River St., Suite 100, Greenville, SC 29601, 864-676-9663, genoc@brainsonfire.com

Rage Against the Haze (RAGE), a South Carolina teen health movement, is the result of positive collaboration between a state public health agency and a marketing and communications firm. These partners have worked very hard to incorporate five key social marketing concepts in RAGE throughout its brief history: 1) consumer orientation, 2) audience segmentation, 3) channel analysis, 4) strategy, and 5) process tracking. Together these concepts provide the foundation for an effective, sustainable, youth-owned pro-health movement.

Its most important audience (the teens) has evaluated every activity and function associated with RAGE. Documented data shows positive increases in tobacco knowledge/attitudes/beliefs based on pre and posttest scores, and positive reaction to the various stimuli introduced through RAGE. Smoking prevalence among high school students in the state has decreased since RAGE’s inception. Membership in this movement increased over 200% in just its second year.

This entire process is a very modified form of social marketing, yet is still a proven method in preventing teen tobacco use in this state. RAGE has empowered its target audience (teens) to become the primary influencers of their generation. The key to its success continues to be recognizing and accepting today’s distinct youth culture. The collaborating entities then simply provided the tools for them to become their own social marketers and spread their pro-health message in an effective manner.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Youth, Communication

Related Web page: www.rageagainstthehaze.com

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: Brains on Fire is the agency that SC DHEC selected to develop its vision of creating a statewide youth anti-tobacco movement

Focus on the Adolescent/Young Adult in Health Communication Research

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA