Impact of Animated Spokes-Characters in Print Direct-to-Consumer Prescription Drug Advertising: An Elaboration Likelihood Model Approach.

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A randomized, posttest-only online survey study of adult U.S. consumers determined the advertising effectiveness (attitude toward ad, brand, company, spokes-characters, attention paid to the ad, drug inquiry intention, and perceived product risk) of animated spokes-characters in print direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs and the moderating effects of consumers' involvement. Consumers' responses (n = 490) were recorded for animated versus nonanimated (human) spokes-characters in a fictitious DTC ad. Guided by the elaboration likelihood model, data were analyzed using a 2 (spokes-character type: animated/human) × 2 (involvement: high/low) factorial multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA). The MANCOVA indicated significant main effects of spokes-character type and involvement on the dependent variables after controlling for covariate effects. Of the several ad effectiveness variables, consumers only differed on their attitude toward the spokes-characters between the two spokes-character types (specifically, more favorable attitudes toward the human spokes-character). Apart from perceived product risk, high-involvement consumers reacted more favorably to the remaining ad effectiveness variables compared to the low-involvement consumers, and exhibited significantly stronger drug inquiry intentions during their next doctor visit. Further, the moderating effect of consumers' involvement was not observed (nonsignificant interaction effect between spokes-character type and involvement).

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Health communication

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This article was published in Health Communications, June 2016.

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