Health Advertising during the Lockdown: A Comparative Analysis of Commercial TV in Spain

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 25;18(3):1054. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18031054.


During the lockdown declared in Spain to fight the spread of COVID-19 from 14 March to 3 May 2020, a context in which health information has gained relevance, the agenda-setting theory was used to study the proportion of health advertisements broadcasted during this period on Spanish television. Previous and posterior phases were compared, and the period was compared with the same period in 2019. A total of 191,738 advertisements were downloaded using the Instar Analytics application and analyzed using inferential statistics to observe the presence of health advertisements during the four study periods. It was observed that during the lockdown, there were more health advertisements than after, as well as during the same period in 2019, although health advertisements had the strongest presence during the pre-lockdown phase. The presence of most types of health advertisements also changed during the four phases of the study. We conclude that, although many differences can be explained by the time of the year-due to the presence of allergies or colds, for instance-the lockdown and the pandemic affected health advertising. However, the effects were mostly visible after the lockdown, when advertisers and broadcasters had had time to adapt to the unexpected circumstances.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Spain; advertisements; agenda-setting theory; health advertising; health communication; lockdown; television.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advertising / trends*
  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Spain
  • Television*