The appropriateness of fear appeal use for health care marketing to the elderly: Is it OK to scare granny? [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 12 (1):45 - 55 (1993)
Abstract
In this paper we explore the intersection of three topics which have historically been singled out for ethical consideration in advertising and marketing: the use of fear appeals, marketing to the elderly, and the marketing of health care services and products. Issues relevant to using fear appeals in promoting health care issues to the elderly are explored with a consumer psychologist's theoretical view of fear appeals. Next the assumption of the elderly market's vulnerability and indicants of social or psychological function which would differentiate the elderly recipients of marketing communications are examined both in terms of function and ethical concerns.Overall, our review of the theoretical underpinnings of fear-based communication and the psychological characteristics does not indicate that the elderly of today are particularlyvulnerable. While the elderly are probably somewhat more dogmatic than younger consumers and perhaps view outcomes from the perspective of their age, there are no indications that their psychological responses to fear-based appeals differ significantly from those of younger consumers
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