The past decade has seen a steady rise in expenditures for direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising. While total revenues across all media are approaching the $1 billion dollar mark, surprisingly little is known about the effectiveness of these types of advertisements, including the appropriateness of various forms of emotional and informational appeal. A content analysis of direct-to-consumer advertising in 24 popular magazines shows that these advertisements are found in every category of magazine, the advertisements employ a mix of informational and emotional appeals, all types of emotional appeals are used, and to date, the type of appeal (emotional and/or informational) tends not to be based on the type of drug advertised. Implications of this content analysis are considered and directions for research on appeals used in direct-to-consumer advertising are suggested.
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