Assessing the TARES as an Ethical Model for Antismoking Ads
Lee, Seow Ting
Journal of health communication 2010 Jan; 15(1): 55-75
This study examines the ethical dimensions of public health communication, with a focus on antismoking public service announcements (PSAs). The content analysis of 826 television ads from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Media Campaign Resource Center is an empirical testing of Baker and Martinson's (2001) TARES Test that directly examines persuasive messages for truthfulness, authenticity, respect, equity, and social responsibility. In general, the antismoking ads score highly on ethicality. There are significant relationships between ethicality and message attributes (thematic frame, emotion appeal, source, and target audience). Ads that portrayed smoking as damaging to health and socially unacceptable score lower in ethicality than ads that focus on tobacco industry manipulation, addiction, dangers of secondhand smoke, and cessation. Emotion appeals of anger and sadness are associated with higher ethicality than shame and humor appeals. Ads targeting teen/youth audiences score lower on ethicality than ads targeting adult and general audiences. There are significant differences in ethicality based on source; ads produced by the CDC rate higher in ethicality than other sources. Theoretical implications and practical recommendations are discussed.
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