Abstract

Brand communication specialists are paying increasing attention to new unconventional methods of communicating messages. One such method is ambient communication; a complex form of communication that uses elements of public spaces to convey messages designed to increase customer engagement in corporate objectives. Health communication experts agree that these methods are potentially capable of increasing both an individual's engagement with health communication and the chances that preventive information become part of peers’ discourses. However little research has been done to assess the condition under which these new, alternative methods can effectively communicate health promotion messages. This article is based on the preliminary results of a qualitative study aimed at assessing the effectiveness conditions of ambient communication to prevent unsafe practices. The study considers an ambient initiative recently promoted in Brescia (Italy) by the public institutions to reduce drink-driving by young people. It is important to study the influence of the actual risk context on the effectiveness of a health preventive message. Although the findings of the study indicate the potential ability of ambient communication to sensitise young people towards safe conducts. However, the communication actually had little impact on perceptions of the dangers of drink-driving. To be more effective preventive ambient communication needs to be both part of a more complex and articulated communication mix and designed according to a deep and ecological understanding of real social contexts especially the ways in which young people use public spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-690
Number of pages22
JournalHEALTH RISK & SOCIETY
Volume13
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • health promotion
  • risk communication

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