Health promotion projects often utilise comics and cartoons as a method of message delivery to their target audience. However, there is little literature evaluating the merits of this strategy. This paper examines the reasons why the utilisation of this medium may be beneficial and describes the use of a cartoon strip in a community alcohol harm reduction project carried out in Western Australia’s remote North-West.
A cartoon strip was locally written and published weekly to present issues related to alcohol over-consumption to the target group of 24-45 year old males and model change strategies. Data on the impact of the cartoon was collected through a survey of 300 community members and structured interviews with 15 key members of the community.
Data indicated the cartoon strip had a substantial readership within the population and was a better vehicle for alcohol messages than state and national campaigns. These lacked the community flavour and flexibility possible in a locally produced cartoon strip.
The authors conclude that the use of a cartoon strip was an effective method of presenting a responsible drinking message to a small remote community. This method allowed ongoing exploration of the theme in a non-confrontational, cost effective, locally relevant, and humorous manner.
Health promotion projects, particularly those being undertaken in small or remote communities, should view the cartoon strip or comic as a useful tool with which to present their message to the community. This is especially the case where there are distinct local issues that render state or national campaigns less relevant.