Master's Project Title:

Marketing and Youth Transportation

MCH Student:

Dana Logsden

Date of Defense:

February 27, 2014


Background:  Although active commuting (walking or  biking) to school  has the potential  to increase childhood physical activity, decr ease traffic congestion and improve air  quality, rates of active commuting have declined substantially among children and youth  over the past 40 years. As a result, the federal government has  invested in Safe Routes to  Schools programs, which aim to improve the  safety of active commuting and encourage  children (and their parents) to walk or bike to school, nationwide. The Alameda County  Safe Routes to Schools program (ACSRTS) created a set of mock-up (i.e. rough draft) “I  Choose to” campaign advertisements to increase the visibility of their high school  program, which also promotes carpooling and public transportation.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine how youth respond to a set of  mock-up “I Choose to…” campaign advertisements to inform the future implementation  of a marketing campaign to increase visibility of the AC SRTS program.

Methods: Two focus groups were conducted, recorde d, transcribed and analyzed to meet  the study objective. A total of 18 high school  students participated in the study (8-10  teenagers per focus group). Close line-by-li ne coding was used to identify and organize  the most prevalent themes for qualitative analysis.

Results: Participants related well to ads that cite money savings and social benefits to  promote walking and carpooling and to ad s that cite autonomy and environmental  benefits to promote biking. Ads that were more  abstract were considered less relatable. Participants scrutinized aesthetic aspects of the mock-up  advertisements and questioned  the logical basis for some advertisements, thereby challenging the authenticity of certain  slogans in their portray al of a realistic, everyday experience. Participants emphasized the  need for clear, graceful language and apt us e of photographs to rein force and clarify key  campaign messages.

Conclusion: Participants responded positively to the “I Choose to…” campaign and  offered recommendations that can be used to  improve the relevance,  relatability, clarity  and overall visual appeal of the campaign. Continued teen participation in the  development of the “I Choose to…” campaign is likely to add further value to the  campaign.