C21. Rice, R.E. & Atkin, C. (1994). Principles of successful communication campaigns: A summary from recent research. In J. Bryant & D. Zillman (Eds.), Media effects: Advances in theory and research (pp. 365-387). NJ: Erlbaum.


Public Communication campaigns
can be broadly defined as purposive attempts (2) to inform, persuade, or motivate behavior changes (3) in a relatively well-defined and large audience, (4) generally for noncommercial benefits to the individuals and/or society at large, (5) typically within a given time period, (6) by means or organized communication activities involving mass media, and (7) often complemented by interpersonal support. (Rice & Atkin, 1989, p. 7, adapted and expanded from Rogers & Storey, 1987, p. 821)

This article suggests ways in which communication campaign developers, implementors, and researchers can improve the likelihood of campaign success. The ten principles outlined here are naturally based on considerable and diverse theoretical developments, research efforts, and practical experience. Yet many current campaigns still fall below expectations, many theoretical aspects of campaigns are still only partially understood, and many (often unexpected or uncontrollable) factors my influence the direction, implementation, and outcomes of campaigns. Because campaigns are pragmatically goal oriented, this chapter features a prescriptive tone in presenting the basic principles.

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