Exploring effective social marketing campaigns in the gambling context: The use of fear mixed with challenge appeals in advertising

Svetlana De Vos, Roberta Carolyn Crouch, Pascale G. Quester, Jasmina Ilicic

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Social marketing strategies to address help-seeking behaviour among gambling-afflicted consumers remain limited. The concept of mixed fear and challenge appeals is particularly interesting, yet is absent in social
marketing advertisements. Fear appeals in advertising should generate a high degree of attention from the viewer and accentuate self-protection, whereas challenge appeals should encourage feelings of hopefulness and determination, generating an eager state of mind and bolstering information intake. As such, the combination of fear and challenge appeals may encourage consumers to engage in detailed processing of the advertising message and induce a positive attitude towards help-seeking behaviours in a compulsive consumption context such as problem gambling. The proposed framework is designed to more explicitly reveal how emotional blends such as fear mixed with challenge impact on modes of information processing, help-seeking attitudes, and behavioural intentions among gamblers. This paper reports on the qualitative findings generated through five focus groups with South Australian gambling-afflicted consumers. This study identifies relevant threats and challenge-associated perceived benefits derived from help-seeking, to be integrated into fear mixed with challenge advertising stimuli. Losing control over excessive gambling and
feeling "trapped" reveals as relevant and commonly shared threats among gamblers. Realistic help-seeking benefits to be portrayed in the social advertisement are of an intrinsically motivated nature and focus on increasing self-esteem, social approval, and general well-being. Study findings also highlight the importance of cues for action and self-accountability to be incorporated into the message. These qualitative insights from the target population add to the validity of a novel framework of fear mixed with challenge appeals as an alternative social marketing strategy in a problem gambling context.
Our paper aligns with the objectives of the 24th NAGS Annual Conference and presents research relevant for the following conference themes: the industry initiatives and developments (responsible gambling initiative, harm minimisation) and innovation and development in the community sector (harm reduction and community education).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventNational Association for Gambling Studies (NAGS) 24th Annual Conference - Jupiters Hotel and Casino, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 26 Nov 201428 Nov 2014


ConferenceNational Association for Gambling Studies (NAGS) 24th Annual Conference
CityGold Coast


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