In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Communication Campaigns

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Journals
  • Theory
  • Social Marketing
  • Design
  • New Media
  • Formative Evaluation
  • Implementation
  • Health
  • Nutrition
  • Drugs
  • Smoking
  • Human Rights
  • Environment
  • Evaluation

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section


Communication Communication Campaigns
Ronald Rice, Charles K. Atkin
  • LAST REVIEWED: 23 February 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0055


Public communication campaigns encompass strategies for producing effects on the knowledge, attitudes, and behavior of large populations across a variety of domains, including political, pro-social, environmental, and health outcomes. Public communication campaigns can be broadly defined as purposive attempts to inform, persuade, or motivate behavior changes in a relatively well-defined and large audience, generally for noncommercial benefits to the individuals and/or society at large, typically within a given time period, by means of organized communication activities involving mass and online/interactive media, and often complemented by interpersonal support. The following sections provide selected annotated citations (books, book chapters, articles, and websites) in the general order of the stages involved in developing and implementing communication campaigns: General Overviews (texts, reviews, and guides), Journals, Theory, Social Marketing, Design (messages, media, and audiences), New Media, Formative Evaluation, Implementation (planning and managing), Campaign Issues (Community, Media Advocacy), Health (health issues), HIV/AIDS, Nutrition (including obesity), Drugs (drugs and alcohol), Smoking, Human Rights, Environment, and Evaluation.

General Overviews

These include texts, edited collections, and reviews of the multiple stages in developing, designing, implementing, and evaluating communication campaigns. Central to well-designed and evaluated campaigns are identifying and applying appropriate theory. DiClemente, et al. 2002 shows how different health theories are applied in a variety of cases. Several of these entries provide a broad range of case examples and applications of the stages and concepts in health promotion and communication campaigns, such as some chapters in Thompson, et al. 2010. Green and Tones 2010 provides international cases of public information campaigns, while Lundgren and McMakin 2009 focuses on risk communication. Chapters or articles providing comprehensive reviews include Rice and Atkin 2009 (which gives considerable coverage to the use of new media), and several in Thompson, et al. 2010. Rice and Atkin 2001, and Witte, et al. 2001 present broad coverage of communication campaigns, with the former more oriented toward academic reviews and studies, and the latter more oriented toward practical steps in developing health campaigns in particular. Klingermann and Roemmele 2001 emphasizes the role of opinion leaders, public officials, and executives in influencing the form and outcomes of campaigns. The Centers for Disease Control’s online Gateway to Health Communication and Social Marketing Practice provides extensive resources, including health communication and social marketing basics, interactive features (blogs, social media tools, and success stories), conferences, evaluation, audience, campaigns, research/evaluation, channels (metrics, media resources, website development, eHealth), campaign and health literacy tools and templates, risk communication, and CDCSynergy, a social marketing planning guide.

  • DiClemente, R. J., R. A. Crosby, and M. C. Cegler, eds. 2002. Emerging theories in health promotion practice and research: Strategies for improving public health. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    The fourteen chapters provide an excellent overview of relevant health promotion and persuasion theories. These include the precaution adoption process, information-motivation-behavior skill, elaboration likelihood, authoritative parenting, natural helper, community coalitions, community capacity, social capital, prevention marketing, behavioral ecological model, applying theory, and future directions.

  • Green, G., and K. Tones. 2010. Health promotion: Planning and strategies. 2d ed. London: SAGE.

    This offers a wide-ranging international perspective on health promotion strategies and topics, such as competing definitions and ideologies of health, theory (from diffusion of innovations to empowerment), planning models, practice, needs assessment, alliances, public policy, education, mass communication, social marketing, advocacy, values and ethics, community programs, and evaluation.

  • Klingermann, H- D., and A. Roemmele, eds. 2001. Public information campaigns and opinion research: A handbook for the student and practitioner. London: SAGE.

    Includes chapters about public information campaigns in many countries and case studies, with an emphasis on practical applications and survey research. One of its strengths is consideration of communication between executive, legislative, and administrative leaders and citizens, highlighting the role of opinion leaders, public opinion, and media effectiveness.

  • Lundgren, R. E., and A. H. McMakin. 2009. Risk communication: A handbook for communicating environmental, safety, and health risks. 4th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-IEEE Press.

    The research field of risk communication has important overlaps with communication campaign design and evaluation. This book discusses a wide variety of approaches to communicating risk, relevant laws, constraints and ethical issues, and the stages in risk communication plans (including stakeholders and new media), with extensive examples and case studies.

  • Rice, R. E., and C. K. Atkin, eds. 2001. Public communication campaigns. 3d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    This edited book assembles thirty-one chapters on public communication campaigns, covering historical and theoretical foundations, campaign design and evaluation (formative, outcome, systems, effectiveness, and a meta-analysis), lessons from the field, a section of short overviews of twelve campaigns, and new approaches and current challenges.

  • Rice, R. E., and C. K. Atkin. 2009. Public communication campaigns: Theoretical principles and practical applications. In Media effects: Advances in theory and research. 3d ed. Edited by J. Bryant and M. Oliver, 436–468. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    This state-of-the-art overview describes the broad array of concepts and processes that determine the effectiveness of public communication campaigns. It includes a considerable review of the use of online and digital media in interventions and campaigns.

  • Thompson, T., R. Parrott, and J. Nussbaum, eds. 2010. Handbook of health Communication. 2d ed. London: Routledge.

    This comprehensive handbook provides several chapters related to health communication campaigns: community organizing, especially with marginalized groups, communicating wellness initiatives, media campaigns, health message design, using computers for tailoring and targeting, online health information, public relations, popular media representations, health literacy, and lessons learned from health campaigns.

  • Witte, K., G. Meyer, and D. P. Martell. 2001. Effective health risk messages: A step-by-step guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    This book presents a detailed blueprint for constructing effective health messages. It covers a wide range of theoretical foundations (fear, extended parallel process, health belief, stages of change, etc.) for developing messages, formative and summative evaluation, evaluation research designs and data collection, dissemination, worksheets, and practical examples.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.