An interesting campaign aimed at getting people to put down that soda bottle. Do you think this is enough to change the behaviour of consuming too much soda?
My thoughts: a campaign is only one piece of the behavioural contingencies involved in selecting and consuming soft drinks. Campaigns such as this should also be implemented at the same time that public policy looks at one or more of the following factors:
1. Prevention by altering access.
If soft drinks are on display in your cafeteria or stored in your fridge at home, you are already one step into the behaviour chain because the discriminative stimulus (Sd) is present. Re-arranging public’s access to soda (the stimulus) is one way to change consumption behaviour. I know some school districts have barred soft drink companies from selling their products in schools. This is a start. How about other options when purchasing out of home food/meals? Will fast food restaurants ever advertise their combos with glass of milk or a fruit smoothie?
2. Teach a replacement behaviour
If soda is consumed as an everyday beverage, then people also need education on what a suitable replacement beverage could be. This replacement beverage must be readily available while also be reinforcing from a caloric and taste dimension. Otherwise, people will resort to what they do best: consume soft-drinks.
3. Arrange economic consequences
Soda is generally cheaper than other beverages that hold nutritional value. Better for you beverages have a higher response cost and therefore will be consumed less often if one’s finances are factored into the response. If consuming the cheaper drink is reinforced (i.e., tastes good and costs less), people are more likely to repeat the same behaviour in a similar situation. Therefore, healthier beverage options must come down in price (French, 2003) or soft drinks must increase in price.
What I just presented is the beginning of a behaviour support plan for reducing soft-drink consumption. Another application for behaviour analysis; used as a model for understanding why people do what they do and to suggest ways to change behaviour.
French, S.A. (2003). Pricing effects on food choices. The Journal of Nutrition, 133(3), 8415-8435.