New media campaigns hold great potential to grow public awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and advance tobacco control policies, including in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), which have shared in a decade of explosive growth in mobile and internet penetration. With the majority of deaths from the tobacco epidemic occurring in LMICs, new media must be harnessed both as an advocacy tool to promote social mobilisation around tobacco issues and to build public support for MPOWER policies. This paper examines three consecutive new media advocacy campaigns that used communication channels such as mobile SMS, Facebook and online advertising to promote tobacco control policies. It includes some of the lessons learned, such as the pitfalls of relying on viral growth as a strategy for obtaining reach and campaign growth; the challenge of translating strategies from traditional media to new media; and the importance of incorporating marketing strategies such as paid advertising, community organising or public relations. It also identifies some of the many knowledge gaps and proposes future research directions.
Hamill S, Tahir T, Murukutla N, Ghamrawy M, Mullin S. I ‘like’ MPOWER: using Facebook, online ads and new media to mobilise tobacco control communities in low-income and middle-income countries. Tob Control 2013;0:1–7. doi:10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2012-050946