Many nations have banned or curtailed advertising of potentially harmful products to protect public health, particularly in the area of chronic disease control. The growth in Internet-based marketing techniques is subverting these advertising regulations. Explosive rises in use of social networking and user-generated content websites is further fuelling product promotion through electronic media. In contrast, there is a very limited body of public health research on these ”new media„ advertising methods. This paper provides an overview of these advertising methods and details examples relevant to chronic disease control. There is a vast untapped potential for health practitioners and researchers to exploit these same media for health promotion.
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Competing interests: None declared.
↵i For a current list, see http://www.who.int/tobacco/framework/countrylist/en/index.html
↵ii Source: Best global brands 2007. Interbrand and Business Week. http://www.ourfishbowl.com/images/surveys/Interbrand_BGB_2007.pdf
↵iii While this campaign is based in the UK, international cell phone numbers can also receive the message.
↵iv A copy of the legislation is available at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2002/ukpga_20020036_en_1
↵v Details of how advertisers can pair ads with news feed activities, target ads based on personal profiles, integrate ads into existing content and build their own pages can be found at http://www.facebook.com/ads/