Reach Health Promotion Innovations

Mobile technology for health behaviour change


REACH HPI’s James White recently participated in the GovHack event. 1000 people in eight Australian cities spent a weekend competing to find novel uses for Government data sources. James’ team built a mobile application called Advintage, which draws on the National Library’s Trove database. Trove is a massive online collection scanned newspaper and magazine pages spanning more than a century, and Advintage enables users to easily explore the millions of advertisements it contains. Advintage was awarded the national Trove Developers’ Prize, as well as the Perth Digital Humanities Prize.

Marketing is a constantly evolving field, and what worked yesterday does not necessarily work today. This is primarily because society doesn’t stand still. People’s values, beliefs, needs and wants are always changing, and so are the mechanisms by which marketers endeavour to persuade them. Persuasion is a word that does not always sit well with non-commercial organisations, but it’s one that health promoters must make peace with. Health promotion is, after all, an exercise in promotion. Because advertising speaks so directly to what people aspire to be (or, at least, what advertisers perceive we aspire to be), trends in advertising can tell us a lot about who we were, who we are, and how we’ve changed.