Research type 
Year of report 

Summary of findings


The core audience (C2DE, 17-34 year old tabloid readers) gave a positive response to the campaign. The executions are seen to fit well within a tabloid format because of the style of humour and the images used. Tabloid readers are aware that their newspapers are often bold and more flamboyant in tone and style than broadsheet newspapers. Therefore they understand that bold statements have to be made to increase standout amongst news articles and gossip pages. The core target audience for the Valentine’s Day campaign were not offended by any of the executions. From the look and style of the press adverts, respondents spontaneously suggested a target age range for the campaign of teens to late twenties. They liked the idea of a five day Valentine campaign – to build awareness at a time of year when the promotion of romance is at its peak. Given low literacy rates amongst some of the core target it was felt that strap lines should be short and supported by clear visual material. In comparison, broadsheet readers (Times, Independent, Telegraph) find the campaign ‘crude’, rather funny but supported a campaign that took a hard-hitting approach to a current public health issue. Guardian readers are the only broadsheet buyers who consider that the executions might work well within their newspaper. Detailed responses are given relating to each of the 5 ads.

Research objectives


The overall objective of the research was to pre-test the creative materials (five press executions and one radio advert) designed for the campaign. Specific research objectives focussed on evaluating and exploring the creative materials in terms of:

  • Impact, appeal and interest generated
  • Comprehension of message
  • Accessibility and relevance for target group
  • Credibility and involvement/persuasiveness
  • Language and tone of voice
  • Detailed views on style, design format and content



The original Adult Sexual Health campaign was launched in December 2002 through press and radio. ‘Don’t play the Sex Lottery’ was the campaign tagline and ‘use a condom’ was the message. (All the adverts had NHS branding). The campaign also aimed to highlight a place to go for help and advice i.e. a helpline (Sexwise) and website ( There were STI specific adverts in women’s and men’s press covering Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Herpes etc. The campaign was aimed at 18-30 year old heterosexuals with a core target audience of 18-24 year old C2DEs (who were perceived to have more partners and unprotected sex). The press campaign was run in weekly and monthly titles. However, tracking figures showed that not enough of the ‘core target’ was seeing the campaign. Valentine’s Day was considered an opportunistic time to place a short campaign in ‘red top’ tabloids: News of the World, The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Express and The Star The adverts were scheduled for 5 days running up to Valentine’s Day, using a different execution every day.

Research participants


The sample was weighted towards the core target audience for the campaign: 17-24 year old, C2DE tabloid readers.

Audience Summary





A “good” ethnic mix was achieved including respondents from South Asian, South East Asian and African Caribbean backgrounds.



The sample was weighted towards the core target audience for the campaign 17-24 year olds however a number of interviews were conducted with older people.

Social Class


The sample was weighted towards the core target audience for the campaign: C2DE tabloid readers. However, a number of interviews were conducted with people from socio economic groups B and C1 and broadsheet readers to gauge an understanding of how they viewed the executions when compared to the core target audience.


Data collection methodology

Hall tests

Sample size



Detailed region


Research was conducted in Birmingham, Manchester and Lewisham (South East London)

Fieldwork dates


Research was conducted between 19th and 22nd January 2004.

Agree to publish





Low/Moderate Potentially offensive/condescending generalisations about KAB of different social classes – particularly when taken out of context. For example the following statement in management summary; “In comparison, broadsheet readers (Times, Independent, Telegraph) find the campaign ‘crude’ but accept that the approach will work well with the intended audience.”

Research agency

Research Works

COI Number


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