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College Students' Perceptions of Fresh Produce Advertisements
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The obesity rate in America more than doubled since the 1960s. In an effort to curb the obesity problem in America, the fresh produce industry has focused its marketing efforts on access and promotion of fresh fruits and vegetables. For the purposes of this study, promotion was further investigated to identify millennial college students’ perceptions of digital fresh produce advertisements. A mixed-method approach was used to determine how students perceive paid, unpaid, and endorsed advertisements used in active fresh produce advertising campaigns. An online questionnaire and four focus groups were used for data collection. Students (N = 175) knowledgeable in marketing, selling, and design principles were recruited from two upper-level undergraduate courses within the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to participate in this study. Questionnaire responses (n = 143) were analyzed to gain a better understanding of the study participants and assign participants to follow-up group discussions about fresh produce advertisements. Students (n = 22) were assigned to a focus group based on high and low involvement with social media and fresh produce. Focus groups were broken up into two parts (1) Snapchat approach and (2) open-ended discussion. The facets model of effective advertising served as the analysis framework for this study. Students’ responses during the Snapchat approach were coded and analyzed according the model, and the discussion responses were transcribed and analyzed using a content analysis approach. The facets model outlined six responses successful advertisements should generate from consumers—perception, cognition, affective/emotion, association, persuasion, and behavior. Students’ responses aligned most closely with behavior and association for paid advertisements; cognition and persuasion for unpaid advertisements; and cognition and other for endorsed advertisements. Overall, students were attracted to the advertisements showcasing fresh, appealing produce presented in a more homegrown, less flashy approach and to advertisements portraying a clear message, understandable taglines, and body copy. Future research is needed to increase applicability of the study results and to further investigate students’ longitudinal behavioral change. Additionally, a future study could be conducted using biometrics to determine if perception is reality.
Prather, Brooke Elizabeth (2016). College Students' Perceptions of Fresh Produce Advertisements. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from