Background: Asthma in older adults is underdiagnosed and poorly self-managed. This population has little
knowledge about the key symptoms, the prevalence among older adults, and the serious consequences of
untreated asthma. The purpose of this study was to undertake a multifaceted evaluation of a social marketing
campaign to increase asthma awareness among older adults in a regional Australian community.
Methods: A cohort of older adults in an intervention region (n = 316) and a control region (n = 394) were surveyed
immediately prior to and following the social marketing campaign. Campaign awareness, message recall, materials
recognition, and actions taken as a result of the campaign were assessed in both regions. Asthma knowledge and
perceptions, experience of asthma symptoms, and general health were also assessed in both regions at baseline
and follow-up. Analyses were conducted to explore the effects of the campaign in the intervention region, and to
examine outcomes among different audience segments.
Results: The survey data showed that those in the target segments (Wheezers and Strugglers) had better message
recall, and were more likely to report having taken action to control their respiratory symptoms. The campaign
significantly increased the number of calls to an asthma information line from the target audience in the
Conclusions: A theory-based social marketing campaign conducted over 3-months increased the asthma
information seeking behaviours of older adults in the intervention community compared to the control community.
Recommendations are outlined for future community health promotion campaigns targeting older adults.