The role of health marketing communications in minimizing the polarisation of health: The challenge of communicating health in the most optimal way in order to achieve behaviour change, and minimize the polarization of health within the Danish society

Sonja Brkic & Idris Mariam

Student thesis: Master thesis


Inequality in health has been increasing globally for several years, and similarly in Denmark, where the inequality in health has doubled the past 20 years compared to other western European countries (Ulighed I Sundhed, 2011). Thus it is relevant to consider how this polarisation can be minimized, as it is not only costly for the government, but it also challenges the foundation of a free welfare system. In order to approach the problem the Danish health Authorities does several campaigns and local initiatives in order to promote healthy behaviour, however evaluations show that many of these campaigns fail to meet their objectives. This indicates that the current strategies need to be evaluated in order to consider better communication alternatives, which is why we in this thesis focus on branding strategies as an alternative as oppose to health marketing communication strategies. Because we as researchers find ourselves within the Social Constructivist Paradigm we view the Danish consumers’ perception of health campaigns, and health as a social construction in their minds. Thus, we have primarily conducted qualitative research in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the Danish consumers’ minds, which has resulted in two focus groups, two indepth interviews with industry experts, and an online questionnaire. By analysing the findings hereby respectively in relation to health marketing communication-, and brandings strategies, we have been able to compare and conclude, which of the strategies fulfilled the Danish consumers’ needs. Overall we found that the current strategies that are applied for health campaigns do lack focus on the consumers’ needs, which could be one of the main reasons why a majority of prior health campaigns have not been able to meet their objectives. The research showed that the Danish consumers’ perceptions depended on factors, such as consumers not being able to relate to the message, content- and executional elements among others. This means that the current strategies should shift towards branding strategies, which should be implemented and incorporated in the establishment of future health campaigns. Thus, we can conclude that we have created a model primarily based on branding strategies, which can optimize future health campaigns, since it is focused on the Danish consumers’ needs.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages162