Research Alert


Newswise — There have been few investigations of whether public health campaigns can stimulate online word of mouth to increase their effectiveness. We address this gap through an empirical investigation of whether advertising and social media posts by a public health campaign can generate online word of mouth that can change risky behaviors. Specifically, we investigate a campaign against texting while driving which has been classified as a health epidemic. The campaign, started in 2010, included mass media and digital advertising, and tweets. Our results indicate that digital advertising and tweets by the campaign stimulated retweets of the campaign’s tweets as well as new tweets by people. We further find that people’s tweets reduce the extent of texting while driving. While based on a single campaign, our results suggest that public health campaigns can use social media to generate online word of mouth to change risky behaviors.

Journal Link: Journal of Business Research