Internationally Renowned Behavior Change Researcher Completes Program Review and Evaluation of the That Guy Campaign in 2016

In 2005, the That Guy campaign was developed by the Defense Health Agency as an innovative binge drinking prevention campaign to complement existing Department of Defense prevention programs and decrease the binge drinking rates of 18- to 24-year-old active duty, junior enlisted military personnel. The campaign was founded on empirical research from literature on the Stages of Change from the Transtheoretical Model (a well-known behavior change theory), social norms, social marketing theory and practice, and persuasion messaging.

Over the course of the past year, the Defense Health Agency worked with the co-founder of the Transtheoretical/Stages of Change Model, Carlo C. DiClemente, PhD, ABPP, to conduct a program review and evaluation of the That Guy campaign. An internationally renowned health behavior researcher, Dr. DiClemente’s research examines the stages of the process of human intentional behavior change particularly as related to health and addictive behaviors. Dr. DiClemente’s review of the That Guy campaign examined research and measurement results, reports, and materials regarding the That Guy binge drinking prevention campaign in order to provide an in-depth exploration of how the campaign’s goals, scope, and prevention marketing materials align with the process of change delineated in the Transtheoretical/Stages of Change Model (again, the behavior change theory on which the That Guy campaign is based).

A selection of topline findings from Dr. DiClemente’s program review and evaluation of the That Guy campaign includes:

  • The That Guy campaign is a prevention program that includes messages and strategies that have the potential to address universal prevention (focusing on an entire population), selective prevention (targeting those at risk), and indicated prevention (targeting those already showing signs of the problematic behaviors). The That Guy campaign is rather unique in its methodology by targeting perceptions and norms around binge drinking.
  • Recent studies have supported the use of humor to be effective in prevention messaging about alcohol, tobacco, and obesity in getting more attention, being more memorable, and being more convincing.
  • The That Guy campaign’s implementation and design uses empirically-supported intervention strategies and follows best practices of implementation research.
  • Analyses of current and emerging survey and evaluation data indicate That Guy is having an impact on the awareness, perceptions, and behaviors of service personnel at a larger population level as well as on the targeted population.
  • That Guy appears to be an effective campaign for reducing incidence and increasing awareness of the consequences of binge drinking among active duty military personnel from both process and outcome perspectives.

That Guy Wins 2016 Bronze Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

In April, the Defense Health Agency was informed that the That Guy campaign won a 2016 Bronze Anvil Award from PRSA in the “Research/Evaluation” category for its recent research exploring the That Guy campaign’s impact on alcohol-related incidents (ARIs) specifically. The 2016 competition drew a total of 639 entries. Of those, only 41 organizations were selected by the Bronze Anvil judges as Bronze Anvil winners (including the That Guy campaign). The official list of Bronze Anvil Award winners for 2016 can be viewed here!

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