Pitching Breast Cancer Messages to Women Might Reduce Efficacy!

Weird. A study says that the use of pink in breast cancer prevention/education spots can raise a woman’s defense mechanism, hindering her ability to absorb or respond to the message. Katherine Hobson in The Wall Street Journal:

A study recently published by the Journal of Marketing Research, however, questions whether that’s always the best way to go. A series of six experiments demonstrates, the authors say, that emphasizing gender in those ads might actually lower a woman’s perceived risk for breast cancer, make her give less to gender-specific cancer charities and even make her less likely to remember the ads. (Here’s the executive summary and here’s the abstract.)

That would fly in the face of conventional wisdom, which holds that targeting women through ads that build on their gender primes them to receive a message about a cancer more likely to affect them than men. But these results suggest that a gender-linked ad triggers a defense mechanism that causes women to unconsciously ignore or downplay the message that may make them feel particularly threatened, Steven Sweldens, an author of the study and an assistant professor of marketing at the business school INSEAD, tells the Health Blog. (He conducted the research with Nader Tavassoli of the London Business School and Stefano Puntoni of the Rotterdam School of Management.)”

Curious? http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2011/07/07/should-breast-cancer-ads-play-up-the-pink/

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