Interrupting a narrative transportation experience: program placement effects on responses to antismoking advertising

J Health Commun. 2008 Oct-Nov;13(7):667-80. doi: 10.1080/10810730802412248.


It is thought that "transportation"--absorption into the narrative flow of a story--may play a role in influencing resistance to persuasion. We hypothesized that advertising that disrupts the experience of narrative transportation may be adversely appraised by audiences. This study aimed to explore the influence of two types of television programs: narratives (dramas, comedies, and soap operas) versus nonnarratives (light entertainment, sports, documentaries, and news), on smokers' reactions to antismoking advertisements. In preexposure interviews, daily smokers (n = 779) were asked to watch a particular television program they usually watched. Postexposure interviews were conducted within 3 days of exposure. Results indicated that placing an antismoking ad within a program in which the viewer is focused on the narrative flow of a story may lead to reduced immediate cognitive and emotional impact of the ad and reduced intentions to quit, especially among those for whom the ad is most relevant, such as those preparing to quit smoking. Placing antismoking advertising in light entertainment, sports, documentaries, and news programs may make scarce public health dollars go further.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising / methods*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Social Marketing*
  • Television
  • Young Adult