Mass media campaigns are great for raising awareness, but they’re not all that effective when it comes to changing personal behaviour. Yes, if you’re already going to the grocery store and you’re already in the beverage aisle, and you're already reaching for a can of soda, an ad campaign can influence your purchase decision about which brand to choose. But to stop someone from drinking too much soda, and start them on a path to healthier living, is a little more challenging.
Behaviours like exercising, healthy eating, reducing energy consumption, quitting smoking, recycling, and other sustainable choices require a significant amount of motivation, effort, and often inconvenience – and at 6:00 in the morning when you’re lying in bed deciding whether to get up and exercise, or turn over and go back to sleep, even the most persuasive ad campaign will lose to the pillow.
So what does work? Researchers have found effective tools to change behaviour and create new habits, and many of these tools can be incorporated into a marketing campaign for social good.