This study assesses the impact of character–audience similarity, a core aspect of tailored communication, on evaluation of antismoking public service announcements (PSAs). Smoker and persuader characters are distinguished to explore their different roles in message effectiveness. Daily adult smokers (n = 1,160) were exposed to four video PSAs randomly selected from a larger pool. Similarity scores were determined from matching in demographic (age, gender, race) and motivational factors (quitting status) between the audience and the PSA’s characters. Results show that PSAs featuring distinctive smoker and/or persuader characters yielded significantly higher message engagement and perceived effectiveness (PE) than PSAs without characters. Given the presence of characters, smoker–audience similarity was positively associated with the engagement, which in turn enhanced PE. Persuader–audience similarity failed to predict increases in either engagement or PE.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)