Children and youth perceive smoking messages in an unbranded advertisement from a NIKE marketing campaign: A cluster randomised controlled trial

Nathalie Auger, Mark DANIEL, Bärbel Knäuper, Marie Raynault, Barry Pless

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Background How youth perceive marketing messages in sports is poorly understood. We evaluated whether youth perceive that the imagery of a specific sports marketing advertisement contained smoking-related messages. Methods Twenty grade 7 to 11 classes (397 students) from two high schools in Montréal, Canada were recruited to participate in a cluster randomised single-blind controlled trial. Classes were randomly allocated to either a NIKE advertisement containing the phrase 'LIGHT IT UP' (n = 205) or to a neutral advertisement with smoking imagery reduced and the phrase replaced by 'GO FOR IT' (n = 192). The NIKE logo was removed from both advertisements. Students responded in class to a questionnaire asking open-ended questions about their perception of the messages in the ad. Reports relating to the appearance and text of the ad, and the product being promoted were evaluated. Results Relative to the neutral ad, more students reported that the phrase 'LIGHT IT UP' was smoking-related (37.6% vs. 0.5%) and that other parts of the ad resembled smoking-related products (50.7% vs. 10.4%). The relative risk of students reporting that the NIKE ad promoted cigarettes was 4.41 (95% confidence interval: 2.64-7.36; P < 0.001). Conclusions The unbranded imagery of an advertisement in a specific campaign aimed at promoting NIKE hockey products appears to have contained smoking-related messages. This particular marketing campaign may have promoted smoking. This suggests that the regulation of marketing to youth may need to be more tightly controlled
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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