Background: Considerable attention has been afforded to analyzing the content of and assessing consumers' reaction to print direct-to-consumer drug ads, but not so for televised ads. Objective: To determine whether advertisements with different risk severity and risk presentation would significantly affect viewers' (1) recall of information contained in the advertisement, (2) evaluation of the advertisement, and (3) perceptions of the advertised product's risks. Methods: Data were collected from a sample of 135 first-year pharmacy students at a Midwestern college of pharmacy. After viewing 1 of the 6 advertisements designed for this study, participants were asked to complete a self-administered survey. Chi-square and analysis of variance were used to analyze the data. A 2 × 3 between subjects design was used to test the effects of 2 levels of risk severity (high- vs low-risk severity) and 3 levels of risk presentation (original ad containing integrated risk message, deintegrated risk message/dual modality using male voice-over, deintegrated risk message/dual modality using female voice-over). Results: Results of analysis of variance procedures revealed that deintegrating risk information by placing it at the end of the advertisement and the use of captions in addition to oral messages (dual modality) (1) improved the recall of general and specific side effect information, (2) led to a perception that the advertisement had greater informational content, (3) resulted in lower Advertisement Distraction, and (4) lessened cognitive and affective aspects of information overload for the advertisement containing the high-risk severity medication. However, this pattern of findings was not found for the low-risk severity medication. Conclusion: Alternative methods for presenting risk information in direct-to-consumer ads affected some aspects of information recall and advertisement evaluation, but were not shown to affect risk perceptions regarding the advertised products.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Partial funding for this study was provided through an unrestricted grant from Pharmacia Corporation.
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