Superimposed text size and contrast effects in DTC TV advertising: Bigger is better, high contrast not so much

Direct-to-consumer prescription-drug television advertisements often contain superimposed text (supers) to convey information about the advertised product.
Paquin et al


  • Formatting features of supers in direct-to-consumer prescription-drug advertising—such as variations in size and contrast—have implications for communicating important drug information.
  • Although exposure to low-contrast supers in this study improved awareness and claim recognition, extraneous layout and design features might have confounded the contrast manipulation.
  • Super size affects fair-balance-related perceptions. Small supers can minimize the perception of risk relative to presentations of drug effectiveness.


Direct-to-consumer prescription-drug advertisements have appeared on U.S. television frequently since 1997 (Chandra and Miller, 2005; Gelland and Lyles, 2007). In 2016, 771,368 direct-to-consumer prescription-drug advertisements...

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