Social marketing messaging to promote girls’ active transportation to school in Victoria, BC




Sauvage-Mar, Claire

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Background: Physical activity (PA) is responsible for a multitude of health benefits for girls and young women. Research on active transportation to school (ATS) shows that it is a known way to increase PA. However, girls do not regularly use ATS despite the many physical, mental, and community health benefits of an active commute. One route to improve girls’ ATS is by using a Social Marketing framework to discern critical messages for use in a public health marketing campaign. Methods: Focus groups with 79 girls between the ages of 7 and 15 were conducted in Spring 2017. Transcripts and poster data were a priori categorized by the SM ‘4Ps’ framework (Product, Price, Place and Promotion). Participant groups were segmented into three age categories for tailored messaging. Data were managed using NVivo 11 and were analyzed using Constant Comparative Method tools (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Results: Two thematic areas, Price and Place, were particularly important to girls in defining and appropriate ‘marketing mix’ for an ATS campaign. Based on our findings, a Social Marketing initiative with girls as the priority audience should be built on empowering girls to overcome the barriers to ATS. Positive and lighthearted messaging emphasizing friendship and independence as promised benefits of ATS would resonate with girls across a broad age range. Further segmentation of the audience would result in more tailored messages based on the different core values and beliefs held by this diverse group.



physical activity, girls, active transportation, school