This strategy uses multifaceted, targeted media efforts to dispel misperceptions, gain community support and enhance prevention efforts. Local media campaigns, when implemented alongside other evidence-based strategies, effectively contribute to community norms change. Messaging should be planned in advance, targeted to specific populations, focused on changing a certain behavior, and implemented through a variety of means (radio, television, print, etc.).

What is This Strategy?

Media advocacy is defined as the strategic use of mass media and community advocacy to advance environmental change or a public policy initiatives (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003). This strategy is typically employed to promote an issue in order to influence policy-makers and encourage social change (American Public Health Association, n.d.). Unlike specifically designed public information campaigns, media advocacy works directly with local news outlets (radio, television, newspapers and magazines) to increase local attention to a specific public health problem and solutions (Niederdeppe, Farrelly, & Wenter, 2007). One key application is as a response to issues involving well-financed opponents who use money to shape the political and social environment. Compared with public relations, media advocacy is more focused on a particular policy goal, resulting in social change.

What is Media Advocacy?

Has This Strategy Been Proven to be Effective?

Youth Alcohol Prevention That Works

Effectiveness of social norms media marketing in reducing drinking and driving: A statewide campaign (Journal of Addictive Behaviors)

The Media, the Public, and the Law Enforcement Community: Correcting Misperceptions (Police Chief Magazine)

When Should I Consider Implementing This Strategy?

  • Community members believe that youth alcohol use is the norm
  • There is a general belief that there is a lack of support by the community for prevention efforts
  • There is a low perceived risk of harm for youth consumption
  • There are misperceptions about actual alcohol use vs. perceived use

How Do I Implement This Strategy?

Key activities for implementation:

  • Identify budget (media can be expensive).
  • Identify target population.
  • Identify key message(s) (should include a call to action).
  • Create message/creative.
  • Develop dissemination plan (coordinate with implementation of other evidence-based strategies).
  • Disseminate campaign.

An Introduction to Positive Community Norms

Promoting Positive Community Norms (CDC)

Media Advocacy in Environmental Prevention (CARS Presentation)

Media Advocacy Guide

Media Planning Guide

Have Others Implemented This Strategy?