Table 3.

Typical Examples of How Loss of Control, Regaining Control, and Social Approval Were Depicted in Selected Advertisements (Ads)

ProductCentral Character(s)Domain of ControlLoss of ControlRegaining ControlSocial Approval
ZolpidemPhotographer, female, middle-aged, whiteAmount of sleep each night; ability to engage in and enjoy work and leisure activities during the dayAd states, “A funny thing happens when your body doesn’t sleep at night. Your mind zones out during the day. It’s likegoing through life on autopilot. Out of synch with the world around you.”Ad shows a new character going to bed and waking up refreshed next morning, as narration continues, “To help you sleep there’s Ambien, the number 1 prescribed sleep aid in America. Ambien helps you fall asleep fast and stay asleep longer. So you wake up refreshed, not groggy.” Ad shows the photographer at work in the studio, smiling at her coworker, followed by a stern focus on her professional taskCoworkers are interested in the photographer’s activities
Basketball referee, male, middle-aged, whiteGuests are enjoying them-selves at the hands of their host, and offer a toast with beverages
Vacationing male, middle-aged, whiteThe ad shows each character engaging in professional and recreational activities, whereupon a ghostlike figure steps out of their body and makes sleeplike gesturesThe children are laughing with their father and photographing their enjoyable vacation activities
Ad shows the basketball referee entertaining guests in a backyard barbecue, simultaneously serving food and socializing
Ad shows the vacationing man with his children in a boat, visiting waterfalls, being cheerful
EsomeprazoleWife/mother, middle- aged, white (Ad 1)Health of esophagus, enjoyment of specific foods, and participation in family dinnerBoth ads show characters at the dinner table with a large family, as food is served. Other family members are engaged in animated conversation. Orange juice transforms into bubbling and steaming green acid as the husband pours it into the woman’s glass. She briefly raises the glass, and her eyes grow wide with distress (Ad 1)The narrator states, “Next time, Nexium, the healing purple pill. For many, one prescription Nexium not only gets rid of heartburn, more importantly, it also heals acid reflux erosions. And healing is such a great feeling.”As the wife/mother takes the orange juice, she begins talking with her family for the first time in the ad (Ad 1)
Husband/father, middle-aged, African American (Ad 2)
As the husband/father takes the serving dish, he smiles at his wife and begins participating in the family meal (Ad 2)
The mother raises her glass for more orange juice and says, “I’ll take that.” (Ad 1)
Gravy transforms into thumbtacks as the wife pours it onto a slice of meat on the man’s plate. His face turns from smile to frown (Ad 2)The father happily receives a serving dish from his wife and says, “I’ll take that.” (Ad 2)
ValacyclovirYoung adult, female, whiteAbility to enjoy romantic encounters, and vacationThe character sits in a hammock and states, “Living with genital herpes can be a hassle.” The next scene shows her sitting on the beach with a male romantic partner, as her voice narrates, “Each outbreak felt like it took days out of my life.” The days of the week scroll across the bottom of the screen and disappearThe camera returns to her sitting in the hammock saying, “So I talked to my doctor and found out about Valtrex. Just 1 pill a day helps reduce the number of outbreaks. In fact, I’ve been outbreak-free for almost a year.” She concludes, “My days are mine, and that’s the way it should be.”The male romantic partner smiles and laughs with the primary character. They dance, sail, bike, and finally kiss and hug in the surf with Rio de Janeiro in the background
SertralineRed egglike cartoon characterAbility to feel comfortable in social settingsThe main character enters a party and appears unhappy, uncomfortable, and isolated. Other characters, depicted in white, are dancing and talking. Narration states “You know that feeling of suddenly being very nervous? Maybe you’re scared of being criticized, or imagine that others are judging you. You’re embarrassed and don’t know why. Your heart thumps and races. So you stay back. You worry that you’re the only one whoever feels this way.”Narration states, “Zoloft prescription medicine can help. It works to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain which may be related to symptoms of social anxiety disorder.” Animation shows neurotransmitter levels increasing across a synapse. The red character gradually fades to white and begins to smile, giggle, and jump up and down with the other characters as narration continues, “In time you could overcome those nervous anxious moments…. Zoloft, when you know more about what’s wrong, you can help make it right.”After taking Zoloft, the primary character interacts with the other characters, smiles, giggles, and bounces up and down. The other characters smile approvingly and bounce as well