Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kelly Page Werder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Justin Brown, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Mitrook, Ph.D.


DTCA, Messaging, Pharmaceutical Advertising, Phenomenology


This study is designed as the building of a foundation in standardizing best practices when designing Direct-to-Consumer messaging. With this being a new and expanding field of marketing and advertising for the high visibility pharmaceutical industry, an establishment of conceptual templature, around which Direct-to-Consumer messaging campaign can be built, offers an opportunity to build a new and vibrant branch on the well-established messaging field. This is particularly important when recognizing the unique needs and requirements of both the pharmaceutical industry and its audience in learning of and about new products.

This study attempted to identify current perception of Direct-to-Consumer practices by industry laypersons with in-depth interviews conducted through a phenomenological framework. Participants were interviewed on a range of relevant areas, including directly regarding their perception as well as a broader collection of their thoughts and impressions.

The results of this study show clear areas of interest, identifying various tactics and strategies employed within Direct-to-Consumer messaging and pointing to areas of potential perception cultivation by those crafting the message. The study also uncovered the presence of the Third-Person Effect playing a key role in determining the response of participants on perception, and potentially opening the door for integrated methods that have been developed with Third-Person Effect in mind when building messages. This study offers a significant first-step of study into the phenomenon of Direct-to-Consumer advertising, as well as a foundation upon which future, larger scale, and more generalizable research can be done.