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Identify two DTC advertisements for medication to treat a contested illness
What factors shape the social construction of illnesses, the people who have them, and the stigma they experience? This assignment will allow you to explore these questions through the lens of direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertisements. Your focus will be on ads for contested illnesses, mental disorders/illnesses, or similar conditions. Such ads are ubiquitous and cover a range of conditions. Examples include: Lyrica (fibromyalgia), Cymbalta (depression), Abilify (bipolar), Cialis (erectile dysfunction), and also Lunestra (insomnia). Many of these drugs are advertised to treat more than one type of condition (e.g., drugs for depression may also be prescribed for chronic fatigue syndrome).
1) Firstly, identify two DTC advertisements for medication purported to treat a contested illness, mental disorder/illness, or similar condition. Each DTC advertisement should be for a different illness/distorter/condition. Print ad, web-based ad, or commercial (usually available online) are suitable.
2) Secondly, describe each ad. What is the product for? Who is the target consumer? What claims are made about the product and its effectiveness? What sort of evidence, if any, is offered in support of these claims. (e.g., consumer testimonials, independent labs, clinical trials, peer-reviewed publications)? Are side effects in the discussion? Are you convince?
3) Thirdly, think about it. What does each ad tell you about the illness it is suppose to treat? About the people who have it (or may have it)? Thinking about the larger social context, how do you think this ad contributes to the transformation of illness (symptoms/personal experiences) into sickness (cultural definitions, social reactions)? What might be the impact of such transformation on stigma?
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