An exploratory study of adolescent female reactions to direct-to-consumer advertising: the case of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

Health Mark Q. 2011 Oct;28(4):372-85. doi: 10.1080/07359683.2011.630289.


When the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was approved in 2006, an extensive direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising campaign raised awareness and promoted vaccination. This study explores adolescents' exposure to and understanding of the messages in these advertisements. Sixty-seven African American females participated in a focus group about DTC advertising for the HPV vaccine. Virtually all adolescents had seen an HPV vaccine DTC advertisement, but most did not understand the health information contained in it. If DTC advertising is to be an effective source of health information for adolescents in the future, it must take into account the unique features of an adolescent audience.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Advertising / methods*
  • Awareness
  • Black or African American*
  • Consumer Health Information / methods
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Marketing of Health Services
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines