Consumer Opinion and Effectiveness of Direct‐to‐Consumer Advertising

Publication Title

Journal of Consumer Marketing

Publication Date


Document Type





pharmaceutical products, advertising, consumer behaviour, public policy


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Marketing | Medicine and Health Sciences | Other Business



– The purpose of the paper is to look at the relationship between attitudes toward direct‐to‐consumer (DTC) advertising and its impact on consumer requests for a particular drug.


– A sample of 154 consumers completed the survey on‐site at a pharmacy while waiting for their prescription(s) to be filled. Based on exploratory research (focus groups), survey items were developed to capture opinions of pharmaceutical advertising as well as the influence of DTC advertising on consumer behavior.


– The findings show that consumers are skeptical of DTC advertising and believe that not enough information is provided about these products. Despite the high level of exposure and the opinions that these ads were effective and informative, few respondents believed that the ads motivated them to request these drugs or put them on a more equal footing with their physician.

Practical implications

– The results provide useful information to policy makers, drug companies and researchers. Even though consumers appear to be critical of DTC advertising oversight, these ads appear to motivate consumers to seek more knowledge about drugs or medical conditions mentioned in the ads and request prescriptions from physicians.


– This research fills an identified gap in the literature on DTC advertising and its impact on consumer decision making. Limited research has been done on the relationship between consumer perceptions of DTC advertising and its impact on consumer requests for pharmaceutical products.

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