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PROMOTING WELLBEING TO YOUTH USING SOCIAL
MARKETING – AN ACTION RESEARCH APPROACH
Jule Kunkel 1
Dr Scott Duncan 1
A/Professor Lesley Ferkins 2
Dr Aaron Jarden 1
Prof Grant Schofield 1
1. Auckland University of Technology
2. Unitec Institute of Technology
The health status quo in New Zealand reveals two core issues: lifestyle has a significant influence
on physical and mental wellbeing, and youth represent the most vulnerable age group. While
health promotion addresses various aspects of health, there is no strong lifestyle campaign that
connects mental and physical health.(1-8) However, social marketing has been reviewed as a
promising tool to create societal change, especially for youth,(9-11) and an action research
approach provides the needed early and strong involvement of the target group.(12-14)
The setting was one secondary school in Auckland (approx. 2,700 students), of which Year 12
and 13 students could participate actively in the research. A ‘design thinking’ workshop and four
focus groups developed and approved a comprehensive campaign, which was led by a steering
group for one school year. All phases contributed to the overarching research question, “how can
a social marketing campaign by-youth-for-youth promote change in lifestyle attitudes and
behaviours in a secondary school setting”?
Next to the issue definition, the workshop produced a comprehensive campaign: name, logo,
slogan, messages, actions, media and ambassadors. The focus groups approved the campaign
and added further insight. With a focus on wellbeing and positive health,(15) the physical health
areas included physical activity, nutrition, smoking, drugs, alcohol, sleeping and sexual health.
This formative phase revealed the core problems to be social norms and group pressure.
The action research process enabled continuous reflection and adjustments. While students
showed very high enthusiasm for the campaign, confirmed their interest throughout the year, and
appointed themselves roles, they were unable to fulfill them and drive the campaign
independently, especially outside of school, e.g. online. The same outcome occurred with the
target group and stakeholders. The campaign continuously met high passive support, which did
not translate into active support, even in online media. Implications and learnings will be further
discussed.
<Insert references> 1. Key J. Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project: New Zealand Government; 2012 [cited
2012 Aug 4]. Available from: URL:http://beehive.govt.nz/feature/prime-minister%E2%80%99syouth-mental-healthproject?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+beehive-govtnz%2Fminister%2FJohnKey+%28John+Key+-+beehive.govt.nz%29.
2. Merry SN, Stasiak K, Shepherd M, Frampton C, Fleming T, Lucassen MFG. SPARX: University
of Auckland; 2012 [cited 2012 Apr 5]. Available from: URL:http://sparx.org.nz/.
3. Ministry of Health. THE LOWDOWN / Helping youth with depression; 2008 [cited 2012 Apr 24].
Available from: URL:http://www.thelowdown.co.nz/.
4. Ministry of Health. Depression; 2012 [cited 2012 Apr 23]. Available from:
URL:http://www.depression.org.nz/content/waythrough/self+help?gclid=CPORsrWUyq8CFShNpg
oda3ylYw.
5. Ministry of Health. The Journal launches to help New Zealanders manage depression; 2010
[cited 2012 Apr 27]. Available from: URL:http://www.health.govt.nz/news-media/mediareleases/journal-launches-help-new-zealanders-manage-depression.
6. Grenville-Cleave B. Positive psychology: Icon Books; 2012. (Introducing (Thriplow, England)).
7. Seligman MEP. Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being - and how to
Achieve Them: Nicholas Brealey Pub; 2011.
8. Hoyt LT, Chase-Lansdale PL, McDade TW, Adam EK. Positive Youth, Healthy Adults: Does
Positive Well-being in Adolescence Predict Better Perceived Health and Fewer Risky Health
Behaviors in Young Adulthood? J Adolesc Health 2012; 50(1):66–73. Available from:
URL:http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1054139X11001613?showall=true.
9. Abroms LC, Maibach EW. The Effectiveness of Mass Communication to Change Public
Behavior.
Annu.
Rev.
Public.
Health.
2008;
29(1):219–34.
Available
from:
URL:http://www.annualreviews.org.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.publhealth.29.020
907.090824.
10. Bright A, Samdahl DM, Scott D, Weissinger E. The role of social marketing in leisure and
recreation management. Journal of Leisure Research 2000; 32(1):12–7.
11. Thornley L, Marsh K. What Works in Social Marketing to Young People: Quigley and Watts
Ltd; 2010. Available from: URL:http://www.myd.govt.nz/documents/policy-and-research/socialmarketing-syst-rev-final.pdf.
12. Cardno C. Action Research: A Developmental Approach: ERIC; 2003.
13. Ferkins L. Sport Governance: Developing Strategic Capability in National Sport
Organisations: Deakin University, Victoria; 2007.
14. Reason P, Bradbury H. Handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice.
London: SAGE; 2001.
15. Seligman MEP. Positive Health. Applied Psychology 2008; 57:3–18. Available from:
URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-0597.2008.00351.x.
<Insert the presenting authors name and email> Jule Kunkel – [email protected]>
<Insert word count> 300
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