Pharmaceutical advertising practitioners' approach to trust and emotion

Jennifer Ball, Michael Mackert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: Studies of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising (DTCA) have examined the views of consumers and healthcare providers but the perspective of pharmaceutical advertisers has been largely absent. This study sought to fill that gap by exploring the perspectives of advertising professionals working on pharmaceutical brands. Design/methodology/approach: Interviews were conducted among 22 advertising professionals regarding the use of emotion in DTCA and considerations about consumer distrust and ad credibility. Findings: Results suggest emotion is used to gain attention, increase involvement, and enhance information processing. Consumer trust of pharmaceutical companies was recognized as an issue, and various thoughts were provided on trust-building strategies. However, several respondents expressed doubt that negative opinions of the industry translated into negative evaluations of the specific ads or brands with which consumers were familiar. Research limitations/implications: Based on participants' assertions, this paper poses a number of specific avenues for future research regarding the effects of emotion on response to DTCA and consumers' conflicting sense of trust within the pharmaceutical category. Originality/value: While scholars examining the design and effects of DTCA have inferred the motivations of pharmaceutical advertisers, this study provides insight on practitioners' actual intentions behind the messages created for DTCA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-264
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 21 2013


  • Advertising
  • Direct-to-consumer
  • Emotion
  • Interviews
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Trust


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