SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social SciencesReference:
Social promotion as a means of representation of values of a healthy lifestyle in Russian society
Abstract.The subject of this research is the peculiarities of representation of values of a healthy lifestyle in the social promotion video ads in Russia. Several various components of healthy lifestyle are being highlighted, and analysis is conducted on their portrayal in advertisements (type of health, advertisement image, emotional effect, level of health, character and format of reflection of health issues). The videos of social promotion representing the values of a healthy lifestyle are analyzed in the context of relevance of the issues raised therein that pertain to the Russian society and comparison of this data with statistics of sociological research and expert opinions. The conducted research allowed the author to conclude that there is a certain decrease in the activity of social promotion in the work of forming and spreading values of healthy living in the Russian society, even though there is a pressing need for it. The emerged “vacuum” is partially filled by commercial advertisements, which “exploits” values of healthy lifestyle primarily for commercial purposes.
Keywords: mental health, physical health, Russian society, values, representation, social promotion, healthy lifestyle, social health, alcoholism, smoking
In the modern society, health represents the condition for not only a long and happy life, but also economic development and prosperity of the country. It is now generally accepted that the key means of support of public health is a healthy lifestyle. As noted by the experts at the World Health Organization (WHO), personal health depends 15-20% on genetic factors, 20-25% on the surrounding environment, 10-15% on the healthcare and quality of medical services, and 50-55% on lifestyle .
In various assessments, the state of personal health of a substantial number of Russians can be characterized as “unsatisfactory”. According to the research of a sociological service of the Russian State Social University, only 20.9% of the polled Russian consider the state of their health as “good”. Moreover, from 2005 to 2008 the portion of absolutely certain positive assessments of the condition of health has decreased from 34.7% to 20.9%, yielding to cautions, only somewhat certain assessments (“mostly good”), which increased from 33.8% to 44.4% .
According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), despite separate positive trends in the demographic sphere over the last few years, the health indexes of the population are at an unsatisfactory level: morbidity is not decreasing .
Considering the aforementioned, we can conclude that formation of values and practices of healthy lifestyle in the Russian society is truly a relevant issue.
One of the paramount sources of transmission of values in the modern information society is the mass media and advertising.
For the purposes of studying the representations of values of healthy lifestyle (HLS) in commercial and social promotion, during January-April of 2017 we conducted social research using the following methods of collecting and analyzing empirical data:
· Quantitative-qualitative analysis of the video ads of commercial (sample size of 56) and social (sample size of 46) advertising, containing one or another form of HLS;
· Expert survey on the topic of “Reflection of values of healthy lifestyle in advertising” (sample size of 25 individuals).
Achievement of the goal would require solution of the following problems:
1. Study the massif of video ads and classify them in accordance with selected categories;
2. Determine the unit of analysis of the selected categories;
3. Assess the relative weight of each category;
4. Assess the intensity (frequency of airing) of each unit of analysis;
5. Determine the content of each unit of analysis.
This research also utilized the social data from The Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey - Higher School of Economics (RLMS-HSE), conducted by the national research university “Higher School of Economics” and OOO “Demoskop”, with participation of the Carolina Population Center at UNC Chapel Hill and the Institute of Sociology RAS , as well as data from the national surveys conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) .
The key sources of videos of social ads were various websites of state departments, contests of social promotion (Russian national contest of social promotion “New Look”, state contest of social promotion “Impulse”, Moscow International Festival of social promotion “LIME”, International Youth Festival of social promotion “ART.START”), as well as data from the largest database of Russian advertisements “Rusreklama” on YouTube, which records monthly stats of videos played on Russian television.
Throughout the period of 2 January 2014 to 30 April 2017, the “Rusreklama” had 65,407,122 views of 4,837 videos . Since there are much fewer social than commercial videos being created, we decided to view the entirety of the archive of social videos for 2016. There were a total of 185 videos of social promotion in that year.
We selected 62 videos that reflected at least one of the components of healthy lifestyle identified by the matrix of visual data by Piotr Sztompka . As a result, we highlighted six categories for analysis of videos of social promotion:
1) Type of health:
- Physical health;
- Mental health;
- Social health.
2) Advertised image:
3) Emotional light:
- Negative and positive;
4) Level of health:
- Individual health;
- Group health.
5) Character of reflection of health issue:
- Description of the problem;
- Call to action.
6) Format of reflection of issue:
- Presence of causes for health issues;
- Presence of results of a healthy lifestyle;
- Presence of consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle;
- Presence of solutions to the problem;
- Presence of a subject of solution to the problem.
For these categories of analysis, we selected 17 units of analysis, which in turn contained 65 indicators that could be measured.
Starting on the examination of the acquired results of the research, we would like to first like to note which topics are most commonly raised in social advertisements sponsored by the state, as well as those that are presented on various independent contests, comparing this date with the opinions of the questioned experts. Thus, the state social promotion most commonly raises topics such as racism and human inequality (25.5%), help for people with various disabilities (19.1%), fighting HIV/AIDS (17%), and spreading awareness of diabetes (8.5%) (see Table 1).
Priority of reflection of various issues of the Russian society in social ads sponsored by state, independent social advertisements and expert opinions.
Thus, with regards to socially hazardous illnesses, the state sponsored advertising targets only fight against HIV/AIDS. Other type of information popularized by state sponsored advertising is awareness of diabetes, including the need for tolerance towards those affected by diabetes.
However, if we refer to the morbidity data for Russian population in 2015 by cause of death, we will notice that sugar diabetes and human immunodeficiency virus are not among the leading causes of death in Russia (see Table 2). The “leaders” are diseases of the circulatory system, coronary heart disease, cancer, neurological disorders, alcoholism, pneumonia, endocrine diseases, eating disorders, metabolism disorders, and others. This raises a proper question, why does the state sponsored advertising concentrates on sugar diabetes and HIV, without giving much needed attention to other more common socially hazardous diseases of Russians?
Morbidity of Russian population by cause of death for 2015.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that the prerequisites for all these diseases and disorders, other than hereditary and genetic peculiarities, are lack of movement and exercise, overweight, poor diet, bad habits, psychoemotional stress, etc.; in other words an unhealthy lifestyle.
Analyzing opinions of the experts regarding the social issues they consider important to be reflected in social promotion, we can highlight four key issues: fight against smoking (13.1%), popularization of sports and physical activity (12.3%), protection of environment (11.5%), and fight against alcoholism (11.5%).
We can presuppose that popularity of the “fight against smoking” as the leader in the topics for social ads is related to the fact that it is currently the most “promoted” direction of propaganda for healthy lifestyle. Big contribution to this was made by the anti-tobacco laws and the anti-tobacco campaign ads. There are currently 2,234 “anti-tobacco” laws in the Russian legislation, which is more than double the number of “anti-alcohol” laws (see Table 3).
Number of laws in the Russian legislation on various social issues as of 05/15/2017.
Talking on such topics of social promotion as popularization of sports and physical activity, it is noteworthy that these directions can be considered as traditional forms of propaganda for healthy lifestyle, which have been established in the conscience of people back from the USSR days. The fact that physical activity and sports, alongside proper diet and abstinence from bad habits, represent the key component of healthy lifestyle in the conscience of Russians is supported by the results of the national survey conducted by the VTsIOM ,.
In the course of our research, the experts have also pushed the problem of smoking and the need for promotion of physical activity and sports to the forefront, particularly when they gave examples of social promotion of a healthy lifestyle in Russia. For example, the advertisement banners “Parents?”, “Sport/spirit (alcohol)” and others. At the same time, the experts we surveyed pointed out the growth in social “shock” advertising, particularly the topic of smoking. Among some examples are the warning labels on cigarette packs such as “Smoking kills”, “Smoking while pregnant harms your child”, “Smoking is the cause of lung disease”, “Smoking causes heart attacks and strokes”, “Smoking causes early aging of skin”, “Smoking can be the cause of impotency”, “Smoking can cause infertility”, “Smoking can cause slow and painful death”, and others .
It would not be an exaggeration to claim that alcoholism is currently a real national issue in Russia. According to the report of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation “On the work of the Ministry in 2016 and tasks for 2017”, from 2014 to 2016 Russian population has reduced alcohol consumption by 8%, but there should be several clarifications to this.
Firstly, the official statistic does not take into account counterfeit alcohol market, which is currently rather vast. Thus, the head of the social organization “Sober Russia” Sultan Hamzaev estimates it to be worth tens of billions of rubles . According to other experts, the portion of illegal alcohol comprises 65% of all alcohol in Russia .
Secondly, on the background of certain reduction in alcohol consumption, according to data from WHO, Russia remains among top five countries for consumption of alcohol, yielding only to Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia and Poland .
Thirdly, according to WHO, relatively safe amount of alcohol to consume for an adult male is 10 liters of pure alcohol spirit per year, and approximately 3.3 liters for a female . Thus, average volume of pure alcohol per person that can be consumed without harm to health is 6.65 liters. Russia has an average 10.3 liter of pure alcohol consumption per person, exceeding the median by 3.65 liters.
The environmental issue is a fairly new social issue, which is just now began to be realized by the population, including the pressure exerted by the mass media. However, in comparison to economic and social issues, the topic of ecology and care for the environment concerns Russians much less, although according to data gathered by VTsIOM, approximately one third of the population in Russia note worsening of the situation in the environment and natural resources .
What pertains to independent social promotion, presented by the video ads of the participant in various contests of social promotion, they highlight such social issues of the Russian population (in the context of health promotion) as fight against drug use (8%), traffic safety (7.3%), fight against smoking (6.6%), and fight against alcoholism (6.6%).
Thus, opinions of the members of independent social promotion and experts we surveyed significantly align with regards to key social issues of the Russian society (in the context of health promotion). Both raise three out of four problems: fight against smoking, fight against alcoholism, and popularization of sports and physical activity. The disagreement is only on one issue – members of independent social promotion make accent on “traffic safety”, while experts focus on “protection of environment”.
At the same time, the conducted analysis allows us to claim a rather substantial discord between which problems are reflected by the state in their social promotion and which problems does Russian public considers most pressing.
Let us turn to the question of efficiency of social promotion as a means of transmission of values of health promotion. All questioned experts note the importance of social promotion and the need to reflect the values of healthy lifestyle therein. However, assessing the level of efficiency of social promotion in elucidation of the topic of healthy lifestyle, majority of the experts lean towards the claim that social promotion is “completely inefficient” (35% of experts gave it less than 4 points, while 12% gave it above 7 points). The median of expert opinions was 3.88 points.
Moreover, according to experts, the portrayal of healthy lifestyle has been much less frequent in social promotion than in commercial advertising. Thus, only 40% of experts noticed reflection of any healthy lifestyle values in the recent social promotion, while 72% have noticed it in commercial advertising.
Based on this data, we can suppose that social promotion for some reasons is failing in the area of promotion of healthy lifestyle, even though it is their job (and not the commercial advertising) to regulate and popularize the corresponding values and examples of behavior in society.
The experts, who were leaning towards the opinion that social promotion is a sufficient instrument for promoting healthy lifestyle, highlighted a number of its positive attributes, particularly pertaining to the goal and continuation of effect on the audience. Speaking on the goal of social promotion, the experts noted that it “attracts attention to the relevant social issues”, “informs on the causes and consequences of various social issues”, “supports changes in society”, and “provides additional information for those already leading a healthy lifestyle”. Characterizing the type of influence of social promotion upon the audience, the experts spoke of such positive aspects as “long-lasting influence” and “influence on permanent basis”.
Among the flaws in social health promotion that significantly reduce its efficiency, the experts highlighted a number of factors, which we separated into four groups and arranged by frequency of mention:
1. Content of promotion messages:
· Rather low creative quality of social promotion.
· Predominantly negative light of presentation (“reflection of unfavorable consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle, rather than positive results of a healthy lifestyle”).
· Orientation of social promotion primarily towards fighting bad habits, rather than promotion of the values of a healthy lifestyle.
2. Financial issues:
· Insufficient financing from the government (“the state departments do not have additional budget for information support”).
3. Organizational issues:
· Infrequent demonstration of social promotion on TV.
· Spontaneous character of development of social promotion.
· Absence of a special coordinating department that would oversee the creation and proliferation of social promotion.
4. Public reception:
· Public does not notice the social promotion.
· Use of social promotion in commercial environment leads to loss of trust towards its content by the public.
Majority of the experts we surveyed noted that reflection of unfavorable consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle is a lot more common in social promotion than positive results of healthy habits and practices. This notion is also supported by the data of the content analysis we conduction on the videos, which demonstrated that consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle were reflected more often (43 points) than the benefits of a healthy one (31 point). At the same time, reflecting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, social promotion operates on such social values as family and kids, while in reflection of negative consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle, it uses images of conflict between people, poverty and loneliness (see Table 4).
Results of healthy and unhealthy lifestyles and frequency of their reflection in video ads of social promotion; by number of mentions.
Examining the level of elucidation of the three components of the “health” category in video ads, we can conclude that the most raised topic is physical health (see Graphic 1).
Level of elucidation of the three components of the “health: category in social promotion.
The most accent is made on such topics as the fight against bad habits (consumption of alcohol, smoking of tobacco, use of drugs – 31 point), and fight against socially significant diseases (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, diabetes – 12 points). It is noteworthy that social promotion absolutely foes not raise such issues and personal hygiene, ways of strengthening immune system, and proper diet, which we have already discussed as the pillars of maintaining strong health and preventing a whole number of serious diseases and disorders.
It is interesting to note that such value as sport is often reflected in social promotion not in the context of exercising will power and strengthening health, but rather as the means of achieving a more attractive body shape and appearance.
If we refer to two other components of health, mainly the mental health and social health, we can identify certain accents in reflection of these topics in social promotion. If we take mental health, then its achievement of personal goals, and making the right choice in life. The topic of social health is reflected in the context of great amount of time spent on the virtual life in the conditions of development of information technologies, which leads to degradation of real social ties between people.
Examining elucidation of various components of healthy lifestyle in social promotion allows concluding that social promotion in Russia does not currently have a comprehensive approach towards informing the population on various facets if healthy lifestyle and its maintenance.
Analyzing the emotional light of the studied video ads of social promotion, we noticed that majority of the ads were structured on the principle of accenting the negative consequences for human life if the individual does not adhere to healthy lifestyle practices (see Graphic 2).
Emotional light of social promotion video ads on healthy lifestyle.
In other words, the dominant approach in social promotion is not reflection of the positive results of following healthy lifestyle practices, but rather accenting the negative consequences for the individual and the group leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
In this regard, let us also address the gender peculiarities of social promotion. The analysis shows that social promotion most commonly uses male images (32 points), rather than female (14 points). Moreover, the male is usually reflected in social promotion consuming alcohol, smoking, using drugs, and this image is being projected in clearly negative emotional light.
It can be said that this reflects the current Russian reality, where male population of the county consumes tobacco much more actively than the female. According to the 2016 data from VTsIOM, 45% of males consume tobacco, and only 17% of females . With regards to alcohol, according to the data from The Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey - Higher School of Economics (RLMS-HSE) research for 2015, portion of females consuming alcohol is 35%, while for males it is 52.6% ,. Thus, we can unequivocally claim that males are a lot more prone to bad habits than females.
Examination of such category of the analysis as “level of health” has revealed that the accent in social promotion is certainly shifted towards care of individual health (44 points), with group health trailing far behind (26 points). In the video ads of social promotion, the concentration is made on the individual concern for people with the safety in situations of smoking, alcohol consumption, drug use, HIV/AIDS, etc.. In other words, these problems are not being presented as socially significant and affecting the society as a whole. This fact to some extent reflects modern sociocultural transformations of the Russian society, where individual and personal become dominant in the thinking and behavior of people.
Study of the character of reflection of the problem in social promotion revealed that the video ads usually contain not a simple description of one or another situation (19 points), but rather a call to action (43 points). The content analysis of the video ads promoting healthy lifestyle revealed that they mostly appeal to the individual, encouraging them to make a decision on what lifestyle they want to lead, healthy or unhealthy. The social promotion video ads we examined did not reflect possible stages of involvement of individual to a healthy lifestyle. In other words, healthy lifestyle is presented as a result, rather than a process.
Majority of the social promotion video ads we examined concentrate on prevention of diseases and their early detection, for example, through regular physical check-ups. We can say that in this case the personal motivation of the individual for leading a healthy lifestyle moves to the background, promoting physician and other health specialists as the main motivators for healthy lifestyle.
As to the “subject of solution of health problems”, the social promotion videos mostly place the individual as the subject (27 points), and only then family and friends (4 points), and medical facilities (9 points). At the same time, as we have already mentioned, the social promotion does not propose any particular plan for these subject to achieve the healthy lifestyle.
In our opinion, the element of social promotion that clearly requires additional work is reflection of causes for emergence of one or another problem with health (19 points). We suppose that this substantially lowers the efficiency of the social promotion, as in this case it is difficult for the individual to identify themselves with one or another situation presented in the ad. For example, an ad devoted to fight against excessive consumption of alcohol does not reflect a situation in which the individual can start abusing alcohol. This can be loss of employment, divorce, loss of money, etc. In other words, in perception of the social promotion the individual usually sees the consequences of consumption of alcohol or other unhealthy practices, but not the information on the circumstances that can bring about these consequences.
In conclusion, it is worth noting that social promotion in Russia is currently insufficiently active in transmission of values of a healthy lifestyle, even though there is a pressing need for it. Despite the fact that social promotions possesses significant social regulatory potential, these resources are not currently being realized to their full potential, and only partially realized by commercial advertising, which in the end concentrate on profits and not the formation of examples of healthy lifestyle of the Russian population.
 http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/rlms и http://www.hse.ru/rlms). Объем репрезентативной выборки населения России - 12666 чел.
https://wciom.ru/database/. Во всероссийских опросах ВЦИОМ опрашивались 1600 человек в 153 населенных пунктах в 46 областях, краях и республиках России. Статистическая погрешность не превышает 3,4%.
 Самая большая база отечественных рекламных роликов на видеохостинговой компании «YouTube» -https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRusreklama
 Инициативный всероссийский опрос ВЦИОМ проведен 11-12 апреля 2015 г. Опрошено 1600 человек в 130 населенных пунктах в 46 областях, краях и республиках России. Статистическая погрешность не превышает 3,5%.
 Инициативные всероссийские опросы ВЦИОМ проведены в 2015-2017 гг. в 130 населенных пунктах в 46 областях, краях и республиках и 8 ФО России. Объем выборки 1600 человек. Выборка репрезентирует население РФ в возрасте 18 лет и старше по полу, возрасту, образованию, типу населенного пункта. Выборка многоступенчатая стратифицированная, с пошаговым отбором домохозяйств, с применением квот на последнем этапе отбора. Для данной выборки максимальный размер ошибки с вероятностью 95% не превышает 3,5%. Метод опроса - личные формализованные интервью по месту жительства респондента.
 Репрезентативная выборка населения России – 12666 чел.
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