Title page for ETD etd-05302008-182755


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Harrington, Brooke Alayne
Author's Email Address bharri9@lsu.edu, scahlett99@yahoo.com
URN etd-05302008-182755
Title Message Framing and Interactivity in Direct-to-Consumer Internet Advertisements: Visual and Textual Cues of Web Sites for Prescription Medications
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Anne Osborne Committee Chair
Andrea Miller Committee Member
Louis Day Committee Member
Keywords
  • Prescription drugs
  • FDA
  • Interactivity
  • Framing
  • Advertising appeals
  • Pharmaceutical advertising
Date of Defense 2008-05-01
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Americansí adoption of the Internet has spawned the increased usage of this medium for direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical manufacturers, despite the widespread controversy over the ethics of the practice, the educational value of direct-to-consumer advertising, and the ultimate cost of the practices to the public. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the industryís advertising within traditional media, the agency does not yet impose standards for direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medications on the Internet. This content analysis of the visual and textual cues of 100 direct-to-consumer Web sites for prescription medications identifies the unexpected strong presence of gain frames relative to loss frames, as well as the manufacturersí focus on educating consumers, evident within the Web sitesí considerable utilization of informational advertising appeals and informational rewards. Possibly, the Internetís ability to support rich media and the virtually unlimited space on the Web sites encourages these manufacturers to employ informational appeals and offer a variety of informational rewards. While the data reveal the manufacturersí strong usage of interactive elements, the industry can improve by fully utilizing the features of the Internet to truly benefit patients as an information source, while attracting prospective consumers. While several shortcomings are evident, including the infrequent usage of minority actors within the advertisements, the pharmaceutical industry appears to have effectively regulated itself through applying the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationís direct-to-consumer advertising standards for traditional media to the World Wide Web. Implications of these findings for the pharmaceutical industry and the public are discussed, in addition to the studyís impact on future research.
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