FDA to Study Animation in Drug Ads and their Possible Role in Obscuring Vital Safety InformationMar 7, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is beginning an investigation into the effects of animation and cartoons in advertising in consumers. The study will investigate the reactions of people to animated ads as well as ads featuring live human actors and observe how the potential risks and general safety information are received, Fortune reports.
The research will be performed utilizing 1,500 participants to gain insight into their reactions to both types of ads. A professional advertising firm will create a series of commercials selling fictitious drugs to treat psoriasis and chronic dry eye and show the ads to patients with those conditions. One of the ads will feature live actors as a control group, while other ad will involve varying degrees of animation, including human actors transforming into cartoons, as well as non-human animation.
The chief objective of these experiments is to observe whether or not the animated ads have the effect of diminishing the viewer’s recollection of significant side effects and safety information, according to Fortune. There is existing evidence, notes the FDA, that cartoon ads help boost recollection in patients' memories in medications such as Abilify, Zoloft, and Lunesta. It is also observed that the safety information, that is by law necessary in all pharmaceutical ads, may be overshadowed.
The United States is the only other developed nation, outside of New Zealand, that allows direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical ads. This practice has come under renewed scrutiny in recent months, Fortune reports.