Non-branded or branded direct-to-consumer prescription advertising
Rollins, Brent L.
MetadataShow full item record
Pharmaceutical manufacturers continue to spend billions of dollars on direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription advertising. However, due to recent image issues, the industry has increased the amount of non-branded, disease education focused advertising. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a non-branded communication as one which discusses a disease or condition and makes no mention or representation of a particular drug or device. In order to examine this trend, advertising effectiveness of non-branded ads, compared to the more prevalent branded ads, was analyzed through a series of questions measuring attitude toward the ad, attitude toward the company and attitude toward the pharmaceutical industry. Drug inquiry intent (DII), a relatively new construct in DTC research, and the traditional marketing construct of involvement were also studied. This research also attempted to discover whether intentions to perform a behavior correspond with the behavior. Behavior was measured using a single-item dichotomous question asking subjects whether or not they wanted to see more information at that time. An online survey panel was used to examine the effects of the two DTC ad types. Four hundred, thirty-seven usable subjects were analyzed. Overall, consumers had moderately positive attitudes toward the different ads, companies and a neutral attitude toward the pharmaceutical industry. Non-branded ads were equally effective compared to branded ads from an attitudinal perspective. Consumers’ level of involvement was the strongest determinant of attitudes in general and within the two ad groupings. Results also show subjects who either viewed the non-branded ad or were highly involved with the specific disease state had more positive drug inquiry intent. Intent did not correlate to actual behavior. Only 22 percent of subjects actually clicked they wanted to see more information. However, further analysis revealed those with higher drug inquiry intentions performed the behavior significantly more. These results are consistent with behavioral and purchase intention theories. Given the goal of DTC, non-branded ads creation of equally positive attitudes and greater drug inquiry intention make them a viable part of the marketing mix. Future research should more fully measure attitudes, intentions and behavior and consider examining this effect on other product areas, including consumer goods and over-the-counter medications.