Success Story: How the Adelante Program Uses Social Marketing to Engage Latino Youth


[We’re pleased to welcome William Douglas Evans of George Washington University. Dr. Evans recently published an article in the March 2016 issue of Social Marketing Quarterly with co-authors Elizabeth Louise Andrade, Ricardo Villalba, Idalina Cubilla, I. Rivera, and Mark C. Edberg, entitled “Turning the Corner: Development of the Adelante Program Brand of Latino Youth.”]

My recent publication, Turning the Corner: Development of the Adelante Program Brand for Latino Youth, extends recent work on health branding for behavior change to engagement in positive youth development (PYD) programs. Latino youth face numerous challenges and this project shows that development of a positive brand identity for community behavior change programs based on a PYD model can increase youth engagement. The formative research reported in this paper points the way to implementation strategies including use of role models depicted by local youth to build interest in the program. It also sets the stage for a digital media intervention in which youth role models tell their stories of program engagement within their social networks, creating a program ripple effect and community-wide engagement.

The abstract:

SMQ March 2016This article reports on formative research to develop the Adelante brand, an innovative program for Latino immigrant adolescents and their families. The brand applies social marketing principles used in previous health brands in areas such as tobacco control, substance use, and HIV prevention. Specific objectives were to apply branding principles as an approach to increasing adolescent engagement with, and participation in, a community-based youth development program called Adelante, which is based on positive youth development theory. We collected data in a primarily low-income Latino immigrant community, Langley Park, MD, located near Washington, DC. A total of 39 adolescents, ages 13–19, participated in six focus groups. We designed and tested a brand positioning statement, associations, a logo and graphics, and youth archetypes. We used thematic content analysis to code focus group data into broad topic areas and then analyzed the data using substantive coding to identify themes. The concepts of strength, resilience, and “turning the corner” by overcoming life obstacles and succeeding were the main themes. Latino youth face a challenging environment in which they grow up, finish school, and succeed. Adelante represents a source of support and help to turn the corner. A graphic depicting a city street corner with a darker side (past) and a brighter side (future) was identified as the Adelante logo. Youth characters named Victor and Erika, and an educational entertainment strategy, were conceived as a way to create a brand persona. Adelante is now actively building its brand to increase youth engagement in the program.

You can read “Turning the Corner: Development of the Adelante Program Brand of Latino Youth” from Social Marketing Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Social Marketing Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Classroom image credited to KT King (CC)


William Douglas Evans is a Professor of Prevention and Community Health & Global Health at George Washington University. He is lead author of the study and co-PI of the Avance Center.

Elizabeth Louise Andrade is an Assistant Research Professor of Prevention and Community Health at George Washington University. She collaborated on study implementation and is co-PI of the Avance Center.

Ricardo Villalba is a Case Manager at the Maryland Multicultural Youth Center. He participated in youth program activities and moderated youth discussions.

Idalina Cubilla is an Avance Center Doctoral Research Associate. She participated in program activities and assisted in Adelante brand development.

I. Rivera is a Consultant in formative research activities. She moderated focus groups with youth.

Mark C. Edberg is an Associate Professor of Prevention and Community Health at George Washington University. He is PI of the Avance Center.

Top Five: Social Marketing

Does compassion make dieters more likely to lose weight? What stops people from recycling? Could an anti-drinking Facebook campaign change a student’s life? Find out these answers and more by reading the current top five most-read articles from Social Marketing Quarterly. These papers are free to access through June 26 using the links below. Please share and enjoy!

SMQ_v19n2_72ppiRGB_150pixWErika Beseler Thompson, Frank Heley, Laura Oster-Aaland, Sherri Nordstrom Stastny, and Elizabeth Crisp Crawford
The Impact of a Student-Driven Social Marketing Campaign on College Student Alcohol-Related Beliefs and Behaviors
March 2013

Jill Jesson
Household Waste Recycling Behavior: A Market Segmentation Model
June 2009

Martine Stead, Lisa Arnott, and Emma Dempsey
Healthy Heroes, Magic Meals, and a Visiting Alien: Community-Led Assets-Based Social Marketing
March 2013

Robert Forbus and Jason L. Snyder
Use of Comforting to Enhance Social Marketing Success: A Case Study
June 2013

Daniel Hayden and Fangzhou Deng
The Science of Goal Setting: A Practitioner’s Guide to Goal Setting in the Social Marketing of Conservation
March 2013

Click here to see the current issue of SMQ, and stay abreast of the latest articles covering the efforts of social marketers to protect the environment and increase health, safety and financial well-being: subscribe to the SMQ RSS feed, and click here if you’d like to receive e-alerts about new articles and issues published online before they’re in print.

College Drinking Prevention: A Social Marketing Approach

Editor’s note: We are pleased to welcome Erika Beseler Thompson, assistant director for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Programs at North Dakota State University. Her article, “The Impact of a Student-Driven Social Marketing Campaign on College Student Alcohol-Related Beliefs and Behaviors,” co-authored by Frank Heley, Laura Oster-Aaland, Sherri Nordstrom Stastny, and Elizabeth Crisp Crawford, all of NDSU, was published in the March 2013 issue of Social Marketing Quarterly.

smqIn the spring of 2010, the NDSU President’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs enlisted the help of communication students in Dr. Elizabeth Crawford’s advertising practicum course to create a social marketing campaign that focuses on reducing the consequences of students’ high-risk drinking decisions. This “Before One More” campaign was intended to help students understand when one more drink can become one too many, and teaches them how to make lower-risk decisions related to alcohol consumption.

The council was thrilled to have students involved in the creation and implementation of this campaign and felt this involvement and the resultant enthusiasm would lead to a more impactful campaign and reductions in high-risk drinking behaviors. We decided to assess the campaign to determine whether it was impactful in its current form or if changes were needed.

The study findings confirmed what we had suspected – using students to tailor socially relevant messages for their peers led to increased acceptance and fit of the message. Unsurprisingly, we also found that the more interactive elements of the campaign were more engaging to students and those students who were already low or moderate-risk drinkers (versus abstainers or high-risk drinkers) were most affected by the campaign messages.

The results of this study have been used to make changes to the “Before One More” campaign to increase its appeal and effectiveness with our students.

Click here to read the paper, “The Impact of a Student-Driven Social Marketing Campaign on College Student Alcohol-Related Beliefs and Behaviors,” in Social Marketing Quarterly.