The Effects of Drug and Supplement Marketing on a Healthy Lifestyle

Amit Bhattacharjee, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Lisa Bolton, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Americus Reed II, University of Pennsylvania, USA
A series of five experiments provides evidence that the marketing of weight management drugs, but not supplements, reduces perceptions of health risk in consumers, undermining healthy lifestyle behaviors and encouraging risky behaviors such as high-fat eating. Taken together, results suggest that drug marketing can affect behavior in both a relatively mindful way, by undermining healthy behavioral intentions, or in a relatively mindless way, by increasing actual unhealthy consumption behavior after mere exposure. Furthermore, results from two field studies suggest that erroneous consumer beliefs about drugs and supplements underlie this boomerang effect on consumer health, and only very high levels of expertise (e.g., medical training) are sufficient to eliminate it. The present research highlights the robustness and generalizability of the boomerang effect in the weight management domain, and bears implications for consumers, marketers, and policy makers.
[ to cite ]:
Amit Bhattacharjee, Lisa Bolton, and Americus Reed II (2009) ,"The Effects of Drug and Supplement Marketing on a Healthy Lifestyle", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 833-833.