Health Communication| The Narrative Within the Narrative: The Effectiveness of Narrative HIV Prevention Ads Depends on Their Placement Within a Context Narrative

Anja Kalch, Helena Bilandzic


Audiovisual HIV prevention ads in a narrative format are an extensively used health communication strategy. However, if the ad is placed in the context of another narrative, it may create an unpleasant disruption and result in negative attitudes. We argue that the persuasive effects of narrative ads depend on the narrative properties of the context narrative and the narrative properties of the story used in the ad. To investigate this interaction effect, a 2 (context scene high versus low in narrativity) × 2 (HIV prevention ad high versus low in narrativity) experiment was conducted. Results demonstrate that interruptions in a scene that is high in narrativity are perceived as more disruptive and result in more negative attitudes toward the ad than interruptions in a scene that is low in narrativity. In a low-narrativity scene, a high-narrativity prevention ad increases narrative ad engagement, which in turn strengthens attitudes toward both the ad and HIV prevention.


narrative engagement, ad intrusiveness, HIV prevention, ad effectiveness, narrative context

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