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Educational Crusade or Product Masquerade? Exploring the Commercialization of Social Responsibility in America's Healthcare Industry
Unformatted Document Text:  COMMERCIALIZATION OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 9 Health communication experts Meyerowitz and Chaiken (1987) explain that health messaging “alter[s] health habits through transmission of factual information, fear arousal, change in risk perception, and enhancement of perceived self-efficacy” (p.19). Because much of our behavior stems from conscious or unconscious reactions to environmental stimuli, it is important to examine the cognitions of message receivers (Littlejohn & Foss, 2005). As such, this study employs in-depth focus groups to measure “the production of interpretations, perceptions, and personal experiences” generated by the messages included in the HPV/GARDASIL campaign (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002, p. 182). Often used “as a tool for probing people’s responses to media messages or their experiences with products, services, and candidates,” focus groups were assumed to be the logical approach for probing participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about HPV, in addition to the branding components and advertising devices embedded in the HPV social marketing campaign (Lindlof and Taylor, 2002, p.182). An appropriate method for “explor[ing] and reveal[ing] higher-level cognitive reactions to images,” group discussion often prompts a deeper richness in data that is unattainable through survey responses alone (Johnson, 2009). By reviewing and discussing the campaign messages aired in the nationwide operation, group deliberations helped generate insight to participant perceptions of Merck’s advertising efforts and the overall HPV social marketing campaign. Participants Participants were drawn from a subject pool at a midsized southern university, and awarded extra credit towards their final grade in courses offered by the school’s mass communication program. Though Merck’s social marketing campaign largely focuses on targeting women’s healthcare behavior, men often are involved in medical decisions made by

Authors: Crosswell, Laura.
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Health communication experts Meyerowitz and Chaiken (1987) explain that health 
messaging “alter[s] health habits through transmission of factual information, fear arousal, 
change in risk perception, and enhancement of perceived self-efficacy” (p.19). Because much of 
our behavior stems from conscious or unconscious reactions to environmental stimuli, it is 
important to examine the cognitions of message receivers (Littlejohn & Foss, 2005).  As such, 
this study employs in-depth focus groups to measure “the production of interpretations, 
perceptions, and personal experiences” generated by the messages included in the 
HPV/GARDASIL campaign (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002, p. 182).  
Often used “as a tool for probing people’s responses to media messages or their 
experiences with products, services, and candidates,” focus groups were assumed to be the 
logical approach for probing participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about HPV, in 
addition to the branding components and advertising devices embedded in the HPV social 
marketing campaign (Lindlof and Taylor, 2002, p.182). An appropriate method for “explor[ing] 
and reveal[ing] higher-level cognitive reactions to images,” group discussion often prompts a 
deeper richness in data that is unattainable through survey responses alone (Johnson, 2009). By 
reviewing and discussing the campaign messages aired in the nationwide operation, group 
deliberations helped generate insight to participant perceptions of Merck’s advertising efforts 
and the overall HPV social marketing campaign. 
Participants were drawn from a subject pool at a midsized southern university, and 
awarded extra credit towards their final grade in courses offered by the school’s mass 
communication program. Though Merck’s social marketing campaign largely focuses on 
targeting women’s healthcare behavior, men often are involved in medical decisions made by 

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