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Face mask comparison

Germany mandated the wearing of surgical masks, commonly called N95 while traveling public transport and public places two days ago. Previously clinical studies have shown cloth masks’ efficacy varies from 30 percent to 80 percent. Last December, a German community-based comparative study found normal masks’ efficacy as 45 percent.

The following image was taken from the CNN World website; it clearly compares the efficacy of cloth masks, surgical masks, and the N95 (respirator).

Mask comparison (source: CNN World)
Got milk?
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“Got milk?” and “Got Polio? Me Neither”

When I saw this, it reminded me of another famous advert with a similar narrative. It was aimed at increasing milk consumption among US consumers in the past: “Got Milk?”.

“Got Milk?” was one of the most famous US campaigns. Jeff Manning, the Executive Director for the California Milk Board hired an Advertising company in San Francisco to develop a campaign; “Got milk?” was the result.

The published literature about this campaign teaches us important lessons for us. I am attempting here to apply their strategies that may be applicable in raising vaccination rates and possibly to other campaigns too.

During that time, milk was seen as a nutritional healthy food and advertised it echoing that sentiment. However, research showed that milk’s place was robbed by soda drinks due to soft drink companies’ aggressive advertising campaigns. These companies related soda drinks with youth lifestyle and happiness.

Instead of adopting this soda strategy, aimed at wooing new customers, the “Got milk?” campaign focused on already existing milk drinkers as the target audience. So, the campaign managers attempted to exploit the food – milk nexus; the majority of consumers drank milk with some food items such as cereals and at a specific time of the day – at breakfast.

Using deprivation as a marketing strategy

Instead of just highlighting the food – milk connection, they focused on a very specific situation that generated anxiety: an uneasy emotion. Through focus group research with milk consumers, they unearthed that consumers felt anxious whenever they tried to swallow either bread or cereals without milk. They translated this particular moment into the now-famous tagline: “Got milk?”. They finally created print adverts and television commercials highlighting this particular moment. You can watch a brief discussion between then-campaign designers: Jeff Goodby and a partner of Silverstein and Partners.

It seemed that several other campaigns that did not have any relation with the milk campaign copied this “got milk?” strategy – Got Jesus? Got beer? etc.

I like this one: “Got Polio? Me Neither” advert.


“Got milk?” campaign managers placed their ads at places where consumers make decisions for groceries: bus stop, grocery stores, in front of televisions at home, etc.

All these attempts were to make mental connection with the deprivation strategy in which was instigated by the television ads.

Image source: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

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COVID 19 Crisis Communication Surveillance Questionnaire

The crisis communication is challenging in this pandemic. The entire world is fighting against an invisible virus for its own survival at the moment. The surveillance of communication strategies in this crisis situation is important and crucial as much as the surveillance of the virus spread.

The following brief 10-item questionnaire was created based on the Health Belief Model constructs. Anyone interested in continuing surveillance of their crisis communication activities can use this as the basis. You are free to edit and create your own.

I will publish its conceptual framework and methods of analysis later.

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Can we compare “mental health” of “foreign-born immigrants” with “Canadians” using one question?

I read a very interesting research paper published by Bukola Salami and her team in the Canadian Journal of Public Health in 2017. 

This paper is based on the responses to the following questions of the Canadian Health Measures Survey. The questions are as follows;

  1. In general, would you say your mental health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?
  2. Do you have a mood disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, mania, or dysthymia?
  3. Did you work at a job or a business in the previous 12 months?
  4. How would you describe a sense of belonging to your local community? The response categories were “very strong”, “somewhat strong”, “somewhat weak” and “very weak”.

They have compared responses to these questions among “Canadian-born” and “foreign-born”. The immigration status was categorized as Canadian, recent immigrants (0-5 years), 6-10, more than 10 years.

Have a close look at one of their findings.

  1. Recent immigrants were four times more likely to report better mental health than non-immigrants (I am not sure who these non-immigrants are; to me, except the First Nations, all are immigrants).
  2. The diagnosis of mood disorders is less likely to report by recent immigrants.

In their, abstract, they mention that immigrants do not have worse mental health in general.

How valid is this?

Mental health is a construct, not like diabetes or hypertension. As Brandon A Kohrt and his team mentions in their paper, if we are going to compare prevalence based on the responses to this single question, we assume that the respondents from different cultures share the same meaning. We know it is not. For example, South Asians like me do not visit a physician to say that I have depression or poor mental health. However, I might explain my worries, persistent headache, stomach ache etc. In some cultures, mental health issues are equivalent to witchcraft and “spirits”. And, these issues are severely stigmatized than in western cultures. Moreover, if the question is asked in English, how immigrants with varying English competencies understand its meaning?



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How to write a good goal and SMART objectives

We write goals and objectives not only in our academic and professional lives but in our daily lives too. Sometimes, I have come across situations in differentiating the two.  While I was browsing on this, I found an excellent tutorial and an infographic with a simple checklist the CDC website. I am sharing it with you here.

Good goals:

You can go through it with the link that I copied in the phrase, “good goals”. I am reproducing below the checklist.

 SMART objectives:

You can find a simple comparison between goals and objectives from CDC here.