The Effects of Negative Political Campaigns: A Meta-Analytic Reassessment

This article discusses the effects of negative political campaigns on aspects such as how it affects society as a whole and democracy in general. Findings indicate that there is trend and negative political campaigns or attack ads have alarmingly grown in use by politicians. It has been reported that ‘whereas only 1% and 46%, respectively, of the ads sponsored by the Democratic and Republican Congressional Campaign Committees [USA] in 2004 were negative, in 2006 those figures skyrocketed to 83% and 89% (CQ Weekly, 2006).


Thus we first focus on why such negativity abound in political campaigns and why it is so popular. There are a number of benefits to negative political campaigning such as the ability to draw the attention of the crowd and it is advantageous to the attacker or user of such negative campaigning. With regards to the former, May explains that ‘voters don’t pay much attention to campaign ads…but when they’re negative they do’ (May, 2006). The latter was elaborated by Romero and Reynolds. Romero claims that ‘ugly, combative, negative advertising targeting a political opponent works’ (Richard Romero; quoted by Quigley 2006). Reynolds additionally comments that ‘if positive advertisements moved things to the extent that negative ads move things, there would be more of them’ (Thomas Reynolds; quoted by Nagourney 2006).


Results from the study of the consequences of negative political campaigning show that negative ads are somewhat easier for its audience to remember. Secondly, negative campaigning actually had positive effects such as increasing the political knowledge of the public. There has also been a greater increase in campaign interest perhaps linked to the earlier point on increasing political knowledge.


The efficacy of such negative campaigns was also questioned and examined thoroughly. We need to first understand the objective of such negative campaigns; to portray the opposition as insignificant and unworthy of any votes. In essence, negative campaigning does drive affect for the target of attacks down but also lessens affect for the attacker. As such, it is a double-edged sword with benefits as well as disadvantages.


Apart for this, the article also explored how negative campaigns may harm the political system. The demobilisation hypothesis holds that negative campaigning alienates many potential voters from politics in general and from electoral politics in general. This in turn results in a lower voter turnout during political rallies. This demobilisation effect could also lower the general public’s satisfaction with the government.



1. May, Patrick (2006) Ads Reach New Lows. San Jose Mercury News, June 2.

2. Nagourney, Adam (2006) New Campaign Ads Have a Theme: Don’t Be Nice. New York Times, September 27.

3. Quigley, Winthrop (2006) Why Mud Works in Political but Not Product Ads. Albuquerque Journal, August 3, 2006, Business Outlook, p. 3.

4. Lau, Richard R., Sigelman, Lee, Rovner, Ivy Brown (2007) ‘The Effects of Negative Political Campaigns: A Meta-Analytic Reassessment.’ The Journal of Politics. 69 (4), pp. 1176-1209.




Reframing Environmental Messages to be Congruent with American Values

This research article explores the relationship between values, attitudes about environmental issues, and pro environmental behavior in the American context.

Can Self-Interest Lead to Environmental Behavior?

It is important to remember that an individual’s lifestyle choices with respect to environmental issues are based on his or her values. Values are important life goals; they are standards which serve as guiding principles in a person’s life (Schwartz 1992; Schwartz and Bilsky 1987).

The focus in this article is on the values found in the United States, which are also shared among other Western countries such as Canada and Western Europe.

American Values

Kohls (1984) of the Washington International Center, devised a list of 13 commonly shared American values.

  1. Personal control over the environment – The belief that each U.S. individual look out for his or her self interest by controlling nature and one’s environment.
  2. Change – Change is associated with personal progress, improvement, and growth.
  3. Time and its control – As one of the most valued resources; time is used wisely on productive tasks to improve one’s personal achievement, status and esteem.
  4. Equality egalitarianism – The belief that everyone is equal and the disregard of hierarchies in class and power.
  5. Individualism and privacy – Individuality is valued above group cohesion and privacy is desirable with no association to isolation.
  6. Self-help conceptSacrifice and hard work are highly valued in the U.S.  to attain personal success.
  7. Competition and free enterpriseAmericans are driven by competition rather than competition to achieve one’s personal best.
  8. Future orientation – The belief that they are in control of the future.
  9. Action work orientation – Viewing action as superior to inaction and value hard work versus leisure because it produces greater personal success, material wealth and status.
  10. Informality – Comparatively casual in dress and speech.
  11. Directness, openness, and honesty – Personal opinions and feelings are more valued than others.
  12. Practicality and efficiency – Americans are philosophically pragmatic and industrious.
  13. Materialism acquisitiveness – Material possessions are valued as outward products of hard work and success.

Schwartz’s Model of Human Values

According to Schwartz’ model, self-transcendence is comprised of 18 life goals, including goals such as being broad-minded, helpful, honest, forgiving and loyal. In contrast, self-enhancement comprised of goals like social power, authority, wealth, success, ambition, and influence.

It is not that case that individuals are self -transcendent but having varying degrees of self-transcendence. Scoring high on self-transcendence does not necessitate a low score on self-enhancement.

Values, Environmental Attitudes, and Behavior

There are three valued-based attitudes.

  1. Egoistic concernsfocused on self, and self-oriented goals. (Health, quality of life)
  2. Social-altruistic concerns focused on other people (Children, family, community)
  3. Biosphere concerns focused on well-being of living things. (Plants, animals, trees)

American Values and Environmental Appeals

The environmental movement in the U.S. has largely been a backlash against the mainstream American lifestyle. Protecting the environment is framed as requiring sacrifice; using less, giving up some available comforts and incurring inconvenience. Values of self-enhancement are found to correlate negatively with environmental behaviour, while values of self-transcendence correlate positively.

Creating Value-Based Messages

Kaplan (2000) argued that it is possible to frame environmental appeals in such a way that they are not inconsistent with self-interest. Three suggestions for framing environmental messages are through;

  1. Working within motivations and inclinations characteristic
  2. Treating human cognitive capacity as a resource
  3. Engaging motivations other than altruism.


People high in self-transcendence would continue to serve, but now people high in self-enhancement would also conserve. Self-transcendence values do not mean a lack of concern for self. A person who has biospheric concerns also cares of the effects on people, future generations and self. If the behaviour cannot be framed in a manner consistent with self-interest, then an alternative approach is to alter the cost/benefit ratio of the behavior (Jorireman et al. 2001a).

Changing the values may be the only effective long-term solution but the change will be gradual and requires experiences to impact our existing beliefs and values. Understanding the link between values, environmental attitudes and behaviors, is important in developing an effective environmental message. In order to increase the effectiveness of environmental messages, it is advisable to frame the appeal in a way that is consistent with self-enhancing values.

Does framing the message in a manner consistent with self-enhancing values lead to greater caring and action? And if so, for whom?

Schulze, PW and Zelezny, L. (2003). Reframing Environmental Messages to be Congruent with American Values. Human Ecology Review 10(3): 126- 136


The framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahnerman (1981)

By definition, humans are rational and thinking beings. In fact, homo sapiens mean thinking man, rational man, knowing man and wise man. Therefore, it is no surprise that we tend to hold the belief that our decisions are based on rationality. This is reflected in the way in which media portrays crime, violence and love as something that can be analyzed and discussed.  However, scientific evidence suggests that we do not always make our decisions based on rationality.

In a research study published in Science, the authors present several examples of how  decisions that should be made solely based on mathematical deductions are influenced by other factors such as the framing of the problems. Tversky and Kahnerman (1981) argue that framing of problems affect the overall perception of the problem which then influences the kind of decisions made. This was tested out in several studies about choices regarding money and the loss of human lives.

In a clear example presented by Tversky and Kahnerman (1981), the research subjects were asked to make decisions based on the following scenario and options.

Problem 1: Imagine that the U.S. is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual Asian disease, which is expected to kill 600 people. Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been proposed. Assume that the scientific estimate of the consequences are as follows:


72 percent of the respondents chose Program A, while 28 percent chose Program B.

Then, a second group of research subjects were presented the same scenario and presented with the following exact scientific estimate of the consequences.


For these options, 78 percent favored Program D, while 22 percent favored Program C.

Program A is identical to program C, whilst program B is identical to program D. How then do we explain the difference in choices amongst the respondents? According to the authors, this seemingly incomprehensible conclusion results from how the questions are framed and based on one fundamental fact about human beings. As human beings, we hate to lose more than we like to win.

According to Tversky and Kahnerman (1981), people have a tendency to engage in risk-taking behavior when they are presented with a negative frame and more likely to avoid risks in positive frames. This is evident in the above mentioned example when the same situation was presented in different frames. Program A and B is framed according to the number of people that will be saved, a positive way of framing, whereas Program C and D is framed according to the number of people that will die, a negative way of framing.

Such framing affects decisions in the evaluation of prospects, acts, contingencies and outcomes in numerous ways. In fact, this knowledge is being employed often in politics, gambling, marketing, business negotiations and even in our daily negotiations with our family and friends.

Questions I’d like to pose to my readers:

1) Do you agree or disagree with the framing and prospect theory?

2) What are some other examples where the framing theory is being used?

3) How do you think people can make better and more rational decisions and avoid being manipulated?


Tversky, A. & Kahnerman, D. (1981). Science, New Series, Vol. 211, No. 4481 (Jan. 30, 1981), pp. 453-458.

– ischmimi

Exploring the Social Dynamics of Proenvironmental Behavior: A Comparative Study of Intervention Processes at Home and at Work

By Michael Nye and Thomas Hargreaves

Proenvironmental behavior is intrinsically related to the social contexts of interaction. Using theories of symbolic interaction, two team-based behavior change interventions are analyzed. This article highlights why policy studies should pay greater attention to the process of behavior change. The social dynamics and mechanisms of the intervention opens up opportunities for renegotiating environmentally friendly behaviors at home and in the workplace.

Behavior Change Programs:

  1. The Environment Champions Program (for workplace)
  2. The EcoTeams Program (for home)

The influence of social dynamics in shaping behavior has been studied by Geog (1999). Communities collectively negotiate new standards and expectations on how others should behave. It would then influence individual community members to adopt those behavior for two reasons; because because they think it is expected of them, and also because they expect others to behave similarly (Georg 1999, p 462).

1) The Environment Champions Program

The initiative was run from December 2006 to November 2007 by an environmental global charity, Global Action Plan. Promotes . Participants formed a team to discuss about environmental problems and actions in a construction company. It comprised of people from different departments, age, gender, and seniority in the company.

Framing Truths
An audit in January 2007 revealed that company’s office produced 11.7 tonnes of waste, 58% of which could have been recycled. Results from the audit provided verifiable justification and motivation to re-examine office practices to reduce environmental impact. However, it was met with resistance from the facilities team. While previously results from the audit was seen as a motivating factor because of it’s numeric nature, it was because of this numerical reason that the facilities team were able to easily contest campaign ideas without being seen as insensitive about the environment.

Positive changes of habits towards the environment was only achieved through collective social means. The Champion initiative worked by policing new social expectations and establishing informal proenvironmental rules.  For example, people “caught each other out” for leaving electrical appliances on, or when printing is done on a single sided page.

29% decrease in waste and 5.4% decrease in electricity usage

2) The EcoTeams Program

The EcoTeams Program brings together 4 to 8 individuals within the same neighborhood to discuss about environmental problems and practical ideas for change. Participants measure their household wastage, energy usage and recycling for  4-6 months and send the figures to a team facilitator, who would give feedback on the achievements in that neighborhood.

Participants have prior interest on a green lifestyle. The program gave them the opportunity to see how well they “stacked up” against those who hold similar views and live similarly. The program also offered a sense of legitimization and social support, and as a safe forum for generation and exchange of green knowledge without being labeled “tree-huggers”.

7% waste reduction and successful changes of environmental behavior across several areas of daily activity.


Social support, discussion and feedback are known drivers of environmentally positive behavior. However this article  highlights that those mechanisms work differently when used in different social contexts. I personally think that the social factor in influencing behavioral change can result in either compliance or resistance and that ultimately, it is up to how an individual sees and evaluates himself through others that will push them into action.


Nye, M. and Hargreaves, T. (2009). Exploring the Social Dynamics of Proenvironmental Behavior Change – A Comparative Study of Intervention Processes at Home and Work. Journal of Industrial Ecology 14(1): 137-149.

– glassleaves

Measuring public support for animal welfare legialation: A case study of cage egg production.

This reading is about seeking public support for particular animal welfare jurisdictive appeal. A survey was carried out in Great Britain. The objective was to find out the willingness of its people to support the act of wiping out the use of cages in egg production. The conclusion was that the procedures must be carried out carefully, and that the results can be a good reflection of people’s concerns about the welfare of animals and their choices for public policies on the welfare of animals.

Legislation has been one of the more important tools that governments use to safeguard the welfare of animals. It is vital as the welfare of animals is “a free and public good”. If uncared for, they will be abused. However the difficulty stems from making sure that:

  1. The law will truly protect the welfare of animals
  2. It is supported by the public in general
  3. It is politically achievable
  4. It does not negatively impact the country’s economy

The survey seeks to find out the worries of the general public about the welfare of farm animals, the support from the public and their willingness to pay for policies to be set to wipe out the use of cages in egg production, the reasoning behind their willingness to pay, as well as personal information about the respondents, for example, their household income, age, gender, occupation, etc.

Results have shown that close to half of the respondents cared very much about how the animals were treated in the process of food production and agricultural production. More than half stopped buying specific farm animal products due to the concerns they have about animal welfare. Respondents, in general, cared about the living conditions about the animals, the food and medicines fed to them, as well as how the animals were treated during transport, markets and slaughter.

Most of the respondents are in support of the legislation to wipe out the use of cages in egg production. “Debriefing questions” are vital in making sure that the responses are consistent and that the respondents have understood the questions correctly. Findings from this have shown that some respondents relate their willingness to pay to helping animal welfare in general rather than just for hen welfare. Also, some relate it to an act of giving – meaning they value the act more than the topic at hand. This study shows that the general public in Great Britain are concerned about animal welfare in general, and more specifically, are in support of banning the use of egg cages in egg production.

From this reading, one of the learning points is that as much as the survey questions are important, it is necessary to find out the rationale behind the answers which could prove to have an impact on the survey results. I feel that “debriefing questions” are important to find out if the respondents understood the survey questions correctly and this in turn can affect the accuracy of the survey results. Apart from “debriefing questions”, what are some other methods to contribute to the accuracy of the survey data?


Bennett, R. (1998). Measuring public support for animal welfare legialation: A case study of cage egg production. Animal Welfare, 7, 1-10


“Fear won’t do it”: Promoting positive engagement with climate change through visual and iconic representations

Fear-inducing representations of climate change are widely employed in the public domain, but their impacts on human’s sense of engagement could be counterproductive. In this article, the authors explore this assertion in the context of two empirical studies that investigated the role of visual, and iconic, representations of climate change for public engagement respectively. Fear appeals in climate change are prevalent with the language of alarmism appearing in many guises. Result demonstrate that although such representations have much potential for attracting people’s attention to climate change, fear is generally an ineffective tool for motivating genuine personal engagement. Nonthreatening imagery and icons that link to individuals’ everyday emotions and concerns in the context of this macro-environmental issue tend to be the most engaging.

The most significant channel of information that the general public receives about climate change is the mass media, which arguably has a great influence on people’s perceptions of the issue (Carvalho & Burgess, 2005; Trumbo & Shanahan, 2000). Mass communications are full of images and narratives that have the potential to influence the way people perceive Global Climate Change. However, why is fear so prevalent in climate change communications while it does not often stem from the science of climate change?

Why Fear Appeals?

In a study conducted on the coverage of IPCC Working Group I report in 10 major U.K. national newspapers, only one newspaper die not run a story on the IPCC report. The other nine all ran articles introducing the adjectives catastrophic, shocking, terrifying, or devastating. Yet none of these words were present in the original IPCC document. Accordingly the media most commonly communicates climate change in the context of dramatic climate related events.

Fear in Theory

Another major issue is that unlike marketing or health-based approaches that connect on a personal, tangible level, climate change represents a greater communications challenge as it is temporally and spatially remote from the individual. This presents certain communication difficulties where engagement is concerned because of the perception that climate change is an issue for the far future. Therefore, the constant use of fear appeals may act to decrease issue salience and increase individual feelings of invulnerability, if the narratives of disaster and destruction do not ring true or not “proven” within an imaginable period.

Fear Message May Produce Unintended Reaction

The continued use of fear message can lead to one of two psychological functions. The first is to control the external danger, the second to control the internal fear (Moser & Dilling, 2004). If the external danger — the impacts of climate change — cannot be controlled (or is not perceived to be controllable, then individuals will attempt to control the internal fear. These internal fear controls, such as issue denial and apathy, can represent barriers to meaningful engagement, uncertainty and skepticism, an externalization of responsibility and blame or stating other issues as more immediate and pressing, and fatalism or a “drop in the ocean” feeling. All are maladaptations; that is, they lead to an individual controlling his or her internal fear by no longer interacting with the climate change issue, but the action does not decrease the individual’s exposure to climate risk.

Engaging More Meaningfully

Fearful representations of climate change appear to be memorable and may initially attract individuals’ attention. However, they can also act to distance and disempower individuals in terms of their sense of personal engagement with the issue. Therefore, these results suggest that the use of fear-inducing or dramatic representations of climate change can be counterproductive when trying to foster public engagement. However, many kinds of visual or iconic representations can engage people productively. In fact certain types of visual imagery, icons, and combinations of message that can be engaging and can specifically help to make climate change a personally salient issue for people and one that they feel able to do something about.


Although the objects and intentions of various communication strategies may be genuine and aimed at bolstering public engagement with climate change, many risk resulting in generating tokenistic and general concern that operates at arm’s length from the individual. Future research attention in this field must concentrate on how a much deeper personal concern and lifestyle engagement with climate change.

Do share on your views on this topic.


O’Neill, S. & Nicholson-Cole, S. (2009). “Fear won’t do it”: Promoting positive engagement with climate change through visual and iconic representations. Science Communication.

– tarrycher

The influence of message framing and issue involvement

The research in the reading reveals that people are highly risk averse when messages are framed positively and more focus on benefits gained such as saving lives. They will risk seeking when messages are framed negatively and more focus on benefits lost (i.e. losing of lives).  The level of involvement will affect on the type of framing used to persuade people effectively.

Message Framing

According to Levin, Meyerowitz and Chaiken (1987), message framing uses either on positive product attributes and benefits gained though product usage or negative product attributes and benefits lost by not using the product.

An example is breast self-examination (BSE) for young women, whereby the same message can be framed to focus on positive aspects (i.e. Women can detect tumour early by doing BSE) or on negative aspects (i.e. Women have less chances to detect tumour at an early stage). Both types of framing convey the same message but in a different perspective.

Issue Involvement

Maheswaran and Meyers-Levy (1990) highlighted in their research that under high involvement conditions, the advocacy is more persuasive when the message is framed negatively and when under low involvement conditions, it is more persuasive when the message is framed positively.

Through figure 1, we can understand that in high involvement condition, negative framing produced more favourable attitudes and greater intentions to comply with the message given, whereas in the low involvement condition, positive framing will produce more favourable attitudes and greater intention to accept.

Overall, we can deduce that attitudes and intentions are higher when issue involvement is high than when the issue involvement is low.

Cognitive Response

Maheswaran and Meyers-Levy (1990) also highlighted in their research that generation of top-of-mind thoughts is greater when issue involvement is high and the generation of simple evaluative thoughts is greater when issue involvement is low.

More positive thoughts were generated when message framing was positive and more negative thoughts were aroused when message framing was negative.


When issue involvement was low, people will not process the message thoroughly and make judgement based on their attitudes on simple inferences. Hence, they will find the advocacy more persuasive when message framing was positive.

When issue involvement was high, people will use detailed processing on the message and make judgement based on normative and unbiased responses and thus, more weight is assigned to negative message due to scepticism towards positive message. Hence, they will find the advocacy more persuasive when message framing was negative.


Maheswaran and Meyers-Levy (1990) suggested that marketers might be advised to utilise negatively framed messages when audience involvement with an ad issue is high and utilise positively framed messages when the audience has casual interest.

There are several factors that are likely to influence audience involvement:

1) Product category (i.e. top designer merchandise)

2) Media communicate the ad (i.e. print media, TV)

3) Particular vehicle in which the ad is place (i.e.  TV Guide, Health magazine)

4) Etc.

Can you name an advertisement that is negatively framed with high audience involvement? Or what other factor you can think of that can influence audience involvement?

– slky87


Maheswaran, D., & Meyers-Levy, J. (1990). The influence of message framing and issue involvement. Journal of Marketing Research, 27, 361-367

Evolving scientific research governance in Australia: a case study of engaging interested publics in nanotechnology research

This article starts by introducing nanotechnology in Australia and how the public has been involved in the discussion of science and technology. The different aspects and options for integrating science and nanotechnology to a social context and development governance are part of the key focus in this article.

It is argued that the role of public discussion in scientific research is a radical concept particularly for the organisations and scientists involved in the decision making and daily schedule planning processes. Research governance has been evolving in order to cater to the growing public demand for greater accountability, an approach that detracts from the traditional scientific approaches as it seeks to detach science from values. This has become a critical challenge to these traditional scientific approaches because of the years of research into the depths of the social dimensions of science and technology.

CSIRO, a national research organisation that concentrates on natural, physical and information science research is facing an acute governance decision on how to prioritise its research objectives and determining the roles of the layman interested in such nanotechnology research. These roles are currently missing. The lack of public support for nanotechnologies in general has created a void for a new aspect of social science involvement.

Nanotechnology research organisations have encountered a dilemma in their study of new methods in integration society and public involvement in the development process. This dilemma is two-fold; on one front, such organisations face the dilemma of prediction and on the other side, the dilemma of control. One must first understand that nanotechnology research in still in its infancy and thus one cannot easily predict the consequences of such emerging technologies. Long term research or studies are also non-existent and research is still an ongoing process. Thus there is the dilemma of prediction. The other dilemma of control refers to the state in which organisations are so actively engaged in the research of such emerging technologies that it becomes extremely challenging to rectify and at a great expense.

Ongoing research on public engagement has determined how members of the public evaluate nanotechnology and also the skills required to identify the range of social values and criteria that a participant may use in their assessments. Certain issues must be highlighted as they command a high priority. Such issues include: accountability and transparency in nanotechnology research and development, the health and safety of those working in the production of nanoparticles, the health of the natural environment etc.

A further study was conducted on the options and possibilities of integrating social issues and public concerns into scientific research. This study determined that:

  • Technical Design
    Identifying points in the research and development process where different design choices are possible.
  • Research portfolio
    Research into social and ethical considerations, alongside the technical research, to help identify key issues and where positive impacts could be achieved.
  • Social engagement
    Improving research decision-making and practice about nanotechnologies by engaging with a range of perspectives from lay and expert knowledges and through informed public debate.
  • Developing a scientific culture
    Fostering a climate for the scientists in which social and ethical considerations are seen as legitimate and important, and where scientists are rewarded for including such considerations in their work.

In conclusion, there is ongoing exploration on the possibilities of integrating public engagement in nanotechnology governance. Research is moving at a very fast pace and there are a number of complex issues to be tackled before any decision is determined to ensure a smooth integration process. There is also the need to recognise the limitations of public involvement.

Katz, E., Solomon, F., Mee, W., Lovel, R. (2009) Evolving scientific research governance in Australia: a case study of engaging interested publics in nanotechnology research. Public Understanding of Science, 18 (5), 531-545.


Measuring public support for animal welfare legislation: A case study of cage egg production

Battery cages are an industrial agricultural confinement system used primary for egg-laying hens. There have been a lot of issues among advocates of animal welfare/animal rights and industrial egg producers as the hens are confined into cramp cages with no space to move and run around which is considered as animal cruelty to most people. (Wikipedia 2010)

Looking at the photo above (the light you see is from the camera, note the darkness at the far right of the photo), you can see that the hens are living in horrid conditions, imagine being confined to a small cage with no space to turn around and having to defecate and eat at the same area. The hens in battery cages do not see sunlight to prevent them from pecking and some animal advocates feel that it is a concern, as hens prefer to eat in brightly lit environments.

Legislation has been the first tool of the governments in protecting the welfare of animals. It is necessary because animal welfare is considered as a free and public good, which would lead the animals to be over-exploited by others if there were no rules to protect them.

In the reading, Bennett investigates the application of a survey technique, contingent valuation, to estimate people’s willingness to pay to support animal welfare legislation. (Bennett R. 1998)

2000 citizens in Great Britain were randomly picked for the survey. Questionnaires were mailed to households and those who completed the questionnaire were able to partake in a free prize draw in order to encourage people to complete the questionnaires.

Only 1% of the respondents said that they were not concerned that farm animals may suffer or be mistreated in the process of producing food and other agricultural products which means that a large number of respondents were somewhat concerned about animal welfare.

More than 50% of the respondents were concerned with the housing/living conditions of animals, feed and medicines given to the animals and the treatment of the animals during transport, at markets and at slaughter.

Thankfully, with the introduction of the European Union Council Directive 1999/74/EC, conventional battery cages would be banned in the EU from January 2012 onwards, which means that the number of eggs from battery cages in the EU states is rapidly decreasing. (Wikipedia 1999)

Switzerland and Germany have banned conventional battery cages as well and other countries like United States and Australia have also set higher standards with regards to conventional battery cages as well.

As people are more concerned about animal welfare, conventional battery cages would be ‘a thing of the past’ soon.

Questions I’d like to pose to the readers:

1)How do you guys feel about conventional battery cages?

2)Would you buy animal products if you know that the animals suffered in the process?


Bennett, R. (1998) Measuring Public Support for Animal Welfare Legislation: A Case Study of Cage Egg Production. Animal Welfare, 7 (1), p.1-10. (2010) Battery cage – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 25 Oct 2012]. (1999) European Union Council Directive 1999/74/EC – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 25 Oct 2012].


Alcohol marketing research: the need for a new agenda

In general, marketing companies use four tools to bring products and customers’ needs into alignment: product design, pricing, distribution and promotion. This article focuses on promotion, which covers the area of communications with the consumer, including mass media advertising, product placements, sponsorship; public relations and point of sale display.

Studies shows that advertising in the traditional media influences drinking initiation, levels of consumption and drinking patterns in young people.


Below are some of the drinking behaviors findings, focusing on existing drinkers:

1)     Marketing messages may be processed using unconscious affect-based processes rather than slower logic based processes

2)     Personally relevant messages may be more likely to be internalized and cognitively available during decision making

3)     Easy cognitive availability of a decision option can predicts decision outcomes in situations where the default position is heuristic rather than analytical decision making.

4)     Marketing can affect memories of drinking occasions. As memories of positive outcomes promote repeat behaviour, marketing may play a special role in driving repeat consumption. Thus, while research on young people should continue, it is important that research also establishes to what degree marketing reinforces consumption among existing drinkers, and whether it hampers attempts to drink in moderation.


An important uncertainty concerns the timing of marketing effects, for example, how soon after implementation of a policy should researchers expect consumption effects—immediately, or possibly only once an unexposed generation has grown up.

There is empirical support for direct, immediate effects of marketing on consumption. A suggested mechanism for immediate effects is that alcohol portrayals act as cues for imitative behaviour or prompt craving. For example, a Dutch team showed in an experiment that young men watching movies in which actors drank frequently or contains commercial breaks with alcohol advertising. He drank substantially more alcohol during and immediately after a TV-watching episode rather than watching movies with infrequent drinking or non-alcohol advertisements (Engels et al., 2009). Thus, portrayals of actual drinking behaviours, regardless of via product placements or advertisements, appear to influence drinking levels directly.

On the other hand, there are longer-term influences via individuals’ drinking-related to affective or cognitive responses. Longitudinal studies provided first estimates of cumulative advertising effect sizes for young people, following by children and young adults for up to 8 years. Results show that young people are more likely to continue to increase their drinking behaviours into their 20s in markets with greater overall exposure to alcohol advertising than in markets with less exposure (Anderson, 2009).


In order to understand further the effects of alcohol message targeting, it may be possible to examine historical changes in advertising methods and target markets. For instance, we can find out whether increased marketing to affluent young women is matched by consumption changes in this group of consumers. Besides, comparative research with samples of people who are exposed similarly to marketing, but for whom marketing messages are likely to feel less relevant, could be informative to them and affect their consumption. Alternatively, retrospective cohort designs could be used to investigate personal characteristics that predict differential responses to marketing, comparing those with similar levels of marketing exposure but different drinking outcomes.


Up till now, studies have tended to rely on simplified models of marketing and have focused disproportionately on youth populations. Hence, more researches of the impact of alcohol towards a broader range of consumers, from youth to elderly should be done in order to get a better image of the effect of alcohol marketing efforts.


Meier, P. (2011). Alcohol marketing research: the need for a new agenda. Addiction, 106, 466–471.

Anderson P., de Bruijn A., Angus K., Gordon R., Hastings G. Impact of alcohol advertising and media exposure on adolescent alcohol use: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Alcohol Alcohol 2009; 44: 229–43.

Engels R. C. M. E., Hermans R., van Baaren R. B., Hollenstein T., Bot S. M. Alcohol portrayal on television affects actual drinking behaviour. Alcohol Alcohol 2009; 44: 244–9.