Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dartmouth Professor Finds Prescription Drug Advertising 'Walks A Communications Tightrope'

Date:
June 2, 2005
Source:
Dartmouth College
Summary:
Dartmouth linguistics expert Lewis Glinert studies how people use and interpret language, and two of his studies appear in the June issue of the journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. Both aim to understand how effectively and efficiently drug ads convey their messages. Glinert says that this line of research was prompted when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for more empirical research on the effects of direct-to-consumer drug advertising in 2002.

"Direct-to-consumer drug advertising walks a communications tightrope," says Dartmouth linguistics expert Lewis Glinert. "It's a balancing act between disclosing both the risks and the benefits of prescription medications."

Related Articles


Glinert, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures, studies how people use and interpret language, and two of his studies appear in the June issue of the journal Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. Both aim to understand how effectively and efficiently drug ads convey their messages. Glinert says that this line of research was prompted when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for more empirical research on the effects of direct-to-consumer drug advertising in 2002.

The first study, with colleague Jon Schommer, an associate professor of pharmaceutical care and health systems at the University of Minnesota, examined two U.S.-aired drug ads from 1999, one for a drug with low associated health risks and the other with high associated health risks. They used the original ads as well as manipulated versions that placed the risk information at the end of the ads with no visual competition, only a voice over. One hundred thirty-five first-year pharmacy students participated in the study.

"Our research didn't prove one way or the other about viewer interpretation of risk," says Glinert.

Each study participant watched a different version of the ad and then answered a survey about its content. The survey contained questions that tested a viewer's recall of the information in the ad, evaluated the effectiveness of the ad, and measured the perception of the risks of the drug advertised.

"We did find, however, that de-integrating or separating out the risk information for the drug with the more severe risks improved the recall of both general information and side effect details and it led to a perception that the ad had greater informational content. There was no increase in knowledge about the drug's risk."

The researchers were surprised that the results were not the same with the drug that had the less severe risks.

"Maybe because the risks were lower, people didn't pay as close attention," says Glinert. "Television advertising for prescription drugs is a growing industry, and the FDA mandates that these ads prominently disclose major risks associated with the drug. But the FDA doesn't specify how risks should be communicated, and our study examined how people remember the risks mentioned in ads."

This is one aspect that Glinert and Schommer hope to test further in the future. They also want to increase and diversify their participant pool, and they want to learn whether the gender of the voice-over influences how well people retain vital information.

Glinert's second study concerned the basic use of language in five different prescription drug ads. Using principles of discourse analysis, he looked at what the ads were trying to communicate, and what the viewer was likely to derive from them. For example, he took into consideration the overall architecture of the ad, like the introduction of information, the use of voice-overs, and the presentation of facts. He also analyzed the connections between spoken messages, images, and other non-verbal signals such as music, written words and body language.

"I found an intense switching and fusing of styles," says Glinert. "The overall function of the commercials was a blend of promotional, informational and aesthetic. It was a strange combination at times when risk messages were competing with up-beat music and visuals."

Glinert concludes that linguistic models of research can be used to contribute to the fields of advertising and promotion, especially in direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

"There's a lot more to learn in order to help advertisers effectively communicate and make their ads more understandable for the consumers."

Both research studies were partially funded by a grant from the Pharmacia Corporation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Dartmouth College. "Dartmouth Professor Finds Prescription Drug Advertising 'Walks A Communications Tightrope'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050602012251.htm>.
Dartmouth College. (2005, June 2). Dartmouth Professor Finds Prescription Drug Advertising 'Walks A Communications Tightrope'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050602012251.htm
Dartmouth College. "Dartmouth Professor Finds Prescription Drug Advertising 'Walks A Communications Tightrope'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050602012251.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins