Metaphors and myths in pharmaceutical advertising
It should come as no surprise that the ancient Greek word for drug, pharmakon, meant remedy. But this same word also meant poison as well as magical charm. We speak of heart attacks and of a long road to recovery. These meanings and phrases are reflective of how society conceives of illness and medical therapies. Metaphors and myths of magic, sports and journey are prevalent in medical terminology and they permeate pharmaceutical advertising. This research investigates the conceptual metaphors that are present in advertisements for pharmaceuticals, both those directed to consumers as well as those directed to physicians, for a broad range of drugs and medical conditions. This research employed a content analysis of advertisements appearing in popular consumer magazines as well as in physician journals and an analysis of online consumer drug reviews. The research concludes with a discussion of the similarities and differences among the conceptual metaphors in consumer versus physician ads, across different medical conditions, and the impact of specific metaphors on consumers' understanding of illness and drug therapies. âº First investigation of conceptual metaphors in DTC ads for prescription drugs. âº Compares conceptual metaphors in DTC and physician prescription drug ads. âº Discusses impact of metaphors on our understanding of illness, drugs, and health.