Impact of coupon promotions in print Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) advertising on consumers’ attitudes and behaviors
Bhutada, Nilesh Satyanarayan
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Utilization of prescription drug coupon offers in Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) advertising is a recent strategy adopted by the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical companies have started using coupon promotions in order to boost their sales and maintain their market share in a fiercely competitive market. Food and Drug Administration regulators and consumer advocate groups have raised concerns about the appropriateness of this practice. However, no prior research has evaluated the effect of coupon promotions on consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. The purpose of this study was to investigate how consumers would respond to coupon promotions in prescription drug advertising. The Elaboration Likelihood Model was used as the conceptual framework for the development of the study hypotheses. A cross-sectional, randomized post-test only research design was used for data collection. Data for 152 subjects was collected by means of self-administered surveys. After cleaning the data, 138 cases were retained for further analysis. Advertisements for a fictitious cholesterol-lowering drug were created for the purpose of this research. Attitude towards ad, attitude towards brand, drug inquiry intentions, perceived product risk, and attitude towards coupon were used as advertising response variables in this study. The results of this study indicate that the presence of a coupon in the ad and the consumers’ level of involvement have an influence on the advertising response variables. Further, consumers’ level of involvement failed to moderate the relationship between sales promotion and the advertising response variables. Consumers’ exposed to prescription drug advertising with a coupon had significantly more favorable ad and brand related attitudes, and intention to inquire about the drug to their doctor. Consumers’ who were highly involved in treating high cholesterol had significantly more favorable attitudes towards ad, brand, coupon, drug inquiry intentions and perceived the product to be more safe. These findings imply that coupons in prescription drug advertising have the potential to attract consumer’s attention and further register the product in their mind. Therefore, marketing practitioners can make advertising of prescription drugs more influential in the cluttered market with the use of coupon promotions.