Article: A Model of Consumer Response to Over-the-Counter Drug Advertising

IMG_3265What does the article examine?

The article examines how consumers react to advertising of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, in this case specifically painkillers (analgesics).

Which concepts are discussed in the article?

The article draws on a wide variety of different advertising concepts that are linked to advertising attention, comprehension and subsequent potential action. Specifically the article tests ad involvement and attention; cognitive and affective responses and finally behavioural outcomes. Interestingly the article does not draw on the Elaboration Likelihood Model, which would have been a useful addition in order to compare the proposed model from a different theoretical perspective, and arguably a more integrated approach.

Where is the data from and how was it measured?

The article draws upon data from an online survey conducted in the U.S. with overall 418 respondents included in the analysis.
The measurement instrument used consist of a questionnaire largely reliant on previously well established questions for product involvement and advertising responses, e.g. attitude was measured with the frequently used eight items questionnaire developed originally by Pollay and Mittal (1993).
What methodology is being used?

To analyse the data, the researchers use Structural Equation Modelling to create a model of how consumers respond to OTC-drug advertising, and establish which factors are important. The methodology is useful for the research as it allows the researchers to quantify their factors that influence advertising attention and subsequent action. However, it is important to remember that it provides a general view of related factors, and indicates how these are related. SEM does not allow for in-depth analysis why specific factors are important. Thus, some of the outcomes are (always) based on rationalisations of the observed data.

What are the main outcomes?

Not surprisingly, product involvement was linked to attention paid to the advert. Similarly, consumers first evaluated the information content of the advert before making affective/emotional judgements, i.e. at least for this specific type of OTC-drug, consumers think first and feel later.
Consequently, the researchers suggest a “problem-solution” approach to advertising OTC-drugs in this category, showing clearly how and when the drug should be taken, and how it affects the situation.  However, as the study looked at painkillers, information for other types of medication may be processed differently (e.g. feel first, information second).

Why should you read it?

The study is one of the few studies that look at the ever-growing OTC market, a market that has been largely neglected in academic research (we discuss some of the few studies in the chapter on Medicalisation in our forthcoming book on Marketing, Ethics & Society). Accordingly, the study sheds light on a largely ignored category of marketing activity, and opens up avenues for further, potentially insightful research – for example by contrasting different medical conditions, OTC-drugs for acute conditions (such as pain) with other drugs which may be more “life enhancing” etc.

Full article: Jisu Huh, Denise E. Delorme & Leonard N. Reid (2015): A Model of Consumer Response to Over-the- Counter Drug Advertising: Antecedents and Influencing Factors, Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2015.1033116

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