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Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Selling health the Tesco way—every little helps?

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 11 October 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:778
  1. Petra M Boynton, lecturer in international health care research
  1. Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, University College London
  1. p.boynton{at}

    Can health promotion messages be pushed withlearn from the same techniques that Tesco and McDonald's use? Petra Boynton examines a new book on the subject

    Before you left the house this morning or on your journey to work you'll probably have experienced social marketing in the form of advertisements for everything from fast food to fast cars. Some of these messages may even affect your future behaviour from where you shop to what you buy.

    The influence of advertising has long been a source of debate and concern, with plenty of research indicating negative causal effects of advertising messages on health. Rather than follow this path, Hastings' book promotes the use of techniques similar to those used by advertising and public relation agencies to influence social and health behaviours. The text will teach you how you can use the same approaches as big corporations and advertising agencies to influence how your patients understand and act on health information.

    Initially I …

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