Memorable Messages about Genes and Health: Implications for Direct-to-Consumer Marketing of Genetic Tests and Therapies

Document Type



direct-to-consumer; genetics; health

Identifier Data


Publication Source

Health Marketing Quarterly


The era of genomic health care introduces new realities into decision-making about the prevention and treatment of disease. Despite this reality, relatively little is known about lay audience recollection of images and messages about genes and health, or their perceptions about the role of genetics research for health, and what diseases are inherited. Participants (N = 482) responded to three open-ended thought-listing tasks to consider these issues. Results revealed the significance of movies in framing memorable messages for participants, with print sources and television also represented. Both awareness and product commercials also comprised specific memories. Cloning was a frequently recalled message and often the first thought that came to participants minds. While a broad range of conditions were associated with health risks inherited from one's family, cancer was most often identified. The messages recalled revealed a number of common features including their tendency to be emotion-laden. The theoretic and pragmatic implications of these results are considered.

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