Consumer Advertising and Health Communication

Authored by: Michael Mackert , Deena Kemp , Daniela De Luca , Rachel Esther Lim

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367488956
eBook ISBN: 9781003043379
Adobe ISBN:


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Corporate advertisements for health-related products or with health-related themes not only promote brands, potentially improving their commercial viability, but also influence consumers’ health beliefs and behaviors, with both positive and negative outcomes. Given the substantial budgets employed in the advertising of health-related products, these ads are among the most prominent health messages people encounter and thus merit attention from health communication researchers, those working in public health, and policy makers. This chapter provides an overview of health advertising, while also offering more details about a few specific contexts that have been particularly active areas of research. The chapter includes information about advertising regulations and guidelines, a review of message features and effects, a look at direct-to-consumer (DTC) prescription drug advertising, a discussion of health and nutrition advertising, an introduction to corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts by commercial brands, and advertising to children and teens. The chapter concludes with directions to advance advertising and health communication research.

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