The challenges of social marketing of organ donation: News and entertainment coverage of donation and transplantation

Tyler R. Harrison, Susan E. Morgan, Lisa V. Chewning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

While great strides have been made in persuading the public to become potential organ donors, actual behavior has not yet caught up with the nearly universally favorable attitudes the public expresses toward donation. This paper explores the issue by situating the social marketing of organ donation against a broader backdrop of entertainment and news media coverage of organ donation. Organ donation storylines are featured on broadcast television in medical and legal dramas, soap operas, and other television serials approximately four times per month (not including most cable networks), and feature storylines that promote myths and fears of the organ donation process. National news and other non-fictionalized coverage of organ donation are even more common, with stories appearing over twenty times a month on average. These stories tend to be one-dimensional and highly sensationalized in their coverage. The marketing of organ donation for entertainment essentially creates a counter-campaign to organ donation, with greater resources and reach than social marketers have access to. Understanding the broader environmental context of organ donation messages highlights the issues faced by social marketing campaigns in persuading the public to become potential donors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-65
Number of pages33
JournalHealth Marketing Quarterly
Volume25
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Marketing

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