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Educational Crusade or Product Masquerade? Exploring the Commercialization of Social Responsibility in America's Healthcare Industry
Unformatted Document Text:  COMMERCIALIZATION OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 12 Beginning with the first advertisement aired in connection with Merck’s GARDASIL vaccination and following through the most recent advertisement, the focus groups examined each of the three different phases included in the rollout campaign. Investigating the perceptions, interpretations, and effects of the health messages, the moderated discussion aimed to uncover the commercial elements facilitating the production and fortification of cervical cancer awareness and understanding. More specifically, the research examined ways in which Merck Pharmaceuticals foster sense making of the HPV health issue and the presume cure, GARDASIL. The researcher held focus group sessions until seemingly reaching thematic redundancy and theoretical saturation. Upon conducting four, sixty-minute focus groups, the researcher moved forward with data analysis. “Make the Connection” Partially funded by Merck Pharmaceuticals and launched on September 30, 2005, the “Make the Connection” campaign was the first set of informative commercials hoping to pioneer America’s mounting understanding of the human papilomavirus (HPV) (Siers-Poisson, 2007). Perkins (2008) explains that, “the first step in campaign development…is to document the gap between reality and misperceptions” (p.199). As part of the three-tiered campaign, Merck approached the first phase by introducing the deadly link between HPV and cervical cancer. The commercials within the introductory sector of the GARDASIL promotion address the documented widespread ignorance women share in their low-risk evaluation of both HPV and cervical cancer. Through strategic commercial choreography, the initial promotional advertisements generate a ‘real-world’ representation of the inconsistency between the palpable risk and women’s invisible concern.

Authors: Crosswell, Laura.
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COMMERCIALIZATION OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY  
12 
 
Beginning with the first advertisement aired in connection with Merck’s GARDASIL 
vaccination and following through the most recent advertisement, the focus groups examined 
each of the three different phases included in the rollout campaign. Investigating the perceptions, 
interpretations, and effects of the health messages, the moderated discussion aimed to uncover 
the commercial elements facilitating the production and fortification of cervical cancer 
awareness and understanding. More specifically, the research examined ways in which Merck 
Pharmaceuticals foster sense making of the HPV health issue and the presume cure, 
GARDASIL. The researcher held focus group sessions until seemingly reaching thematic 
redundancy and theoretical saturation. Upon conducting four, sixty-minute focus groups, the 
researcher moved forward with data analysis.  
“Make the Connection” 
Partially funded by Merck Pharmaceuticals and launched on September 30, 2005, the 
“Make the Connection” campaign was the first set of informative commercials hoping to pioneer 
America’s mounting understanding of the human papilomavirus (HPV) (Siers-Poisson, 2007). 
Perkins (2008) explains that, “the first step in campaign development…is to document the gap 
between reality and misperceptions” (p.199). As part of the three-tiered campaign, Merck 
approached the first phase by introducing the deadly link between HPV and cervical cancer. The 
commercials within the introductory sector of the GARDASIL promotion address the 
documented widespread ignorance women share in their low-risk evaluation of both HPV and 
cervical cancer. Through strategic commercial choreography, the initial promotional 
advertisements generate a ‘real-world’ representation of the inconsistency between the palpable 
risk and women’s invisible concern. 


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