The effect of branding to promote healthy behavior: Reducing tobacco use among youth and young adults

Donna Vallone, Marisa Greenberg, Haijun Xiao, Morgane Bennett, Jennifer Cantrell, Jessica Rath, Elizabeth Hair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Policy interventions such as public health mass media campaigns disseminate messages in order to improve health-related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors at the population level. Only more recently have campaigns that promote health-related behaviors adopted branding, a well-established marketing strategy, to influence how consumers think and feel about a message. This study examines whether positive brand equity for the national truth® campaign is associated with lower likelihood of cigarette use over time using the nationally representative Truth Longitudinal Cohort of youth and young adults, aged 15-21. Logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between brand equity and the likelihood of reporting past 30-day smoking over a 12-month period. Respondents who reported positive brand equity were significantly less likely to report past 30-day smoking 12 months later (OR = 0.66, p < 0.05), controlling for covariates known to influence tobacco use behavior. Findings also translate the effect size difference to a population estimate of more than 300,000 youth and young adults having been prevented from current smoking over the course of a year. Building brand equity is a strategic process for health promotion campaigns, not only to improve message recall and salience but also to influence behavioral outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1517
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 7 2017


  • Brand equity
  • Branding
  • Health behavior
  • Health promotion campaign
  • Smoking
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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