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Speaking of Health: Assessing Health Communication Strategies for Diverse Populations
of messages. The tone of a message should “speak the language” of intended audiences. For example, a serious message using spokespersons in their late sixties more likely would be perceived as talking to an older target segment than would a trendy or hip message using today’s rap stars. Even when the underlying message is the same, the way it is communicated may differ among audience segments.
Executions can vary their slogans, visuals, actors, language, and music, among other things. Perhaps the most common means of altering the image of a communication campaign to appeal to diverse audiences is to alter the language, terminology, or slang used in communications. This is easiest to accomplish with print materials (such as newspapers, magazines, and flyers) and televised public service announcements using a voice-over. For example, materials can be produced in Spanish, standard English, and innercity slang.
Another option is to use the actors or models who look like members of the intended audience. Print materials for different ethnic groups, genders, and age groups frequently convey the intended audience by use of pictures. For example, the Best Start Social Marketing Service (a nonprofit organization working under a contract with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC) and the Loving Support Campaign (a CDC effort to promote breastfeeding) created billboards, posters, pamphlets, and mail inserts that featured photographs of people of different ethnic groups. The National Cancer Institute’s Once A Year for A Life Time mammography campaigns combined graphics featuring women similar in appearance to the ethnic and age groups of intended audiences. Although the creation of television public service announcements is costly, a few campaigns have produced parallel executions for television aimed at different groups, such as the National Truth Campaign and the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, which produced separate advertising for African-American and Hispanic audiences.
Certainly, a wide range of creative efforts has been employed by communication campaigns to project appropriate images that