Should warnings and side effects be made clearer in advertisements?
Advertising drugs should not just inform the consumer about them, but also warn him about the possible health consequences, stopping the doubters. According to a new study, such warnings, on the contrary, are more likely to encourage the purchase of goods. In the publication Psychological Science, scientists from the School of Business INSEAD (Singapore), Tel Aviv University (Israel) and New York University (USA) published the results of interesting experiments, during which they observed the behavior of consumers and their reaction to warnings in advertising. Researchers were amazed at how detailed, clear and direct became the warnings about side effects. But it turned out that such warnings can rather stimulate than to turn off patients from a risky product. Experiment with cigarettes and tablets in one experiment, smokers were shown cigarette advertisements. One showed advertisements with colorful warnings that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema, while other consumers watched advertisements without such frightening insertions. The result was unexpected. Smokers, who were given the opportunity to buy cigarettes immediately after watching advertisements with warnings, bought cigarettes less often. But, when these participants had an opportunity to buy cigarettes a couple of days later, they often bought more than in the control group.
In the second experiment, when participants were told that certain drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and alopecia have serious side effects, they wanted these drugs more than others, given the greater truthfulness of the information. The delayed effect is left without attention of regulators Researchers note that their results are extremely important, since such warnings are found almost everywhere – on medicines, in advertising of medical and cosmetic procedures, on food products, and even in offers of financial services. Carmon says that his research will allow consumers to understand what trap this deferred effect drives them into, and will make their behavior more weighted. Today the delayed effect of warnings is out of sight of regulatory agencies – those organizations that are obliged to protect consumers from the negative effects of advertising.
Scientists say that this is due to the time gap between viewing advertisements and making a purchase decision, which makes terrible warnings look abstract, and many consumers are already considering reports of side effects as an indicator of honesty and trust.
Messages that warn the consumer of the dangers of using the product should make him act cautiously, but, ironically, it has unpleasant consequences.
Those who truly wish to warn consumers of the negative consequences (both potential and actual) of the use or consumption of a product, should ensure that their warnings are communicated and / or repeated shortly before their use or consumption. This applies to consumer products, financial investments or clinical procedures a new and unexpected lesson for marketing and branding professionals.
Information about the advertising material should be based on a modern assessment, consistent with scientific data, and not create an incorrect or misleading impression. The instructions for the use of the drug should be based on this information and must comply with the local marketing authorization, and, where applicable, the permit issued by the regulatory authorities of the industrialized countries. Scientific data, which is the basis for advertising and recommendations for the use of medicines, should be available and presented at the request of health organizations. Companies should, however, try to provide uniform information in indications for use, contraindications, warnings, precautions, side effects and dosages wherever possible in the context of national requirements. Companies should objectively consider the right requests for information and report data that would match the source of the request.
Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that critical information relating to the safety of pharmaceutical products, such as contraindications, precautions and side effects, is consistently and appropriately set out and in accordance with laws and regulations, as well as medical practice in the Russian Federation. The word safe should not be used without a detailed explanation. Reasonable information about serious and unexpected side effects associated with the use of pharmaceuticals must be immediately transmitted to the relevant health authorities. Explanatory notes: National requirements for notification of the side effects of pharmaceutical products should always take precedence.
Well, of all the principles referred to, the announcement that is now analyzed could only be addressed by the strict interpretation of the misleading term, since, as will be proven, neither the commercial messages can be directly considered as false and neither even the use of the term natural in the packaging or the attribution of an alleged exclusivity in the commercialization are blameworthy, as these precautions correspond to the principle of loyalty in its meaning required, specifically, to the field of drug advertising.
Although one cannot speak of misleading advertising by omission, since the warnings, as now will be explained, do exist, it does not seem tolerable that they keep, in size, form and location, such disproportionate disproportion Regarding the allegations made in positive, especially when the failure to read the first can cause certain risks to the health of the consumer. It is, therefore, a clear case of misleading advertising because of the presentation of the message, to use, in a clearly interested, an obvious difference in both the size of some legends and in the situation of the same. Thus, while the phrases that sing the excellences of the product as reducer of cholesterol, highlighting also that the optimum daily dose matches the contents of the container, are at the top of the printed message, in large size and in striking colors, the warnings that correct or clarify to a great extent the benefits of food are in almost microscopic, black and footnote.
Undoubtedly, this type of presentation, at least unbalanced, of the different informative components of the message, can generate, in abundant occasions, the deceit of the purchasers, who could incur in excessive consumption in an absolutely ignorant and careless way. If this pathology has fortunately been combated by recent norms that fundamentally pursue the protection of the economic interests of those who are harmed, with much more reason they should be persecuted when what may be threatened is the health of the consumers in a field, paradoxically, of healthiness in food. If possible, the problem acquires even more serious dyes by observing the commercial spectrum in which the product has to find, in good logic, better reception, resulting this of the elderly, which, by their own physical conditions , it will be even more complicated to appreciate the commented warnings, given the size and location of them. The average consumer in this case aggravates, in our opinion, the duty of diligence of the advertiser businessman, and much more when, not being considered medicine, the announcement of the product is not accompanied by the very helpful legend that invites readers to read instructions and consult the pharmacist, which could well have, in part, minimized the discretion of the warnings referred.