Discussion Questions Examining Campaign Strategy
As you read in the case study, it is important to recognize that the messaging strategy used by The Other Hangover campaign was intentionally designed to be provocative in an effort to stand out and grab college students’ attention.
1. What are some of the potential criticisms that members of the community might have regarding the approach of the campaign and its focus on reputations and the social consequences of binge drinking? Gilkerson, Gross & Ahneman “The Other Hangover” Case Studies in Strategic Communication, 2 | 2013 115
2. What “public relations” issues should the sponsors of the campaign be prepared to address, and what key messages should they emphasize when responding to these criticisms? Are some of the potential criticisms of the campaign fair?
3. While obviously everyone will not always agree with the messaging used by a public health campaign, does this particular campaign cross a line and go too far in attempting to be edgy? Campaign Sponsorship and Strategy Implications The Other Hangover was developed independently by group of undergraduate advertising students participating in a competition—and the money used to implement the campaign they created was provided by an outside group which is funded by the distilling industry.
4. If you were a key administration official at the University where this campaign was developed, what concerns would you have about allowing the campaign to be implemented on campus?
5. Is the source of the campaign funding, corporations within the alcohol industry itself, a potential ethical issue?
6. What might be some of the unintended messages that community members might take away from this campaign?
7. What other members of the community, such as health and public safety officials, might consider themselves to be stakeholders in a campaign like The Other Hangover—and what sorts of concerns might those individuals have about the campaign? Campaign Messaging and Advertising Executions Look back at the various advertising executions used by The Other Hangover campaign, including the print ads (used for posters and bus shelter ads) and sidewalk-cling messages. Gilkerson, Gross & Ahneman “The Other Hangover” Case Studies in Strategic Communication, 2 | 2013 116
8. Considering the messaging strategy and advertising images that were chosen, who specifically do you think the “target audience” was intended to be? Are there certain audiences that are ignored by the campaign?
9. Do you think the messages and images in the campaign could be misinterpreted (or considered offensive) by some audiences?
10. Are there ways in which the campaign could be adapted to better communicate to some groups, or would this serve to dilute or otherwise weaken the message? Campaign Evaluation Effort Evaluating the success or failure of an advertising campaign is often a difficult and messy endeavor, especially because a real world campaign doesn’t operate within a vacuum (or in a controlled laboratory!), but instead is only one part of a noisy and complex media environment.
11. Considering the results outlined in the case study, did the evaluators of The Other Hangover campaign create useful measures for the success of the project?
12. Was their evaluation design, which utilized a series of longitudinal online surveys of University undergraduates who were exposed to the campaign, a fair approach in gauging student reactions and attitudes toward the campaign? What other types of evaluation efforts could have been conducted?
13. Considering the results of the evaluation, should the campaign organizers declare that the project was indeed a success?
14. Realizing binge-drinking isn’t likely to be eliminated through a single campaign, how should “success” be defined when thinking about a campaign like The Other Hangover?