The Open UniversitySkip to content

The effectiveness of social marketing interventions for health improvement: what's the evidence?

Gordon, Ross; McDermott, Laura; Stead, Martine and Angus, Kathryn (2006). The effectiveness of social marketing interventions for health improvement: what's the evidence? Public Health, 120(12) pp. 1133–1139.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (453kB)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Objectives: To review the effectiveness of social marketing interventions designed to improve diet, increase physical activity, and tackle substance misuse.

Study design and methods: This article describes three reviews of systematic reviews and primary studies that evaluate social marketing effectiveness. All three reviews used pre-defined search and inclusion criteria and defined social marketing interventions as those which adopted six key social marketing principles.

Results: The reviews provide evidence that social marketing interventions can be effective in improving diet, increasing exercise, and tackling the misuse of substances like alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. There is evidence that social marketing interventions can work with a range of target groups, in different settings, and can work upstream as well as with individuals.

Conclusions: Social marketing provides a very promising framework for improving health both at the individual level and at wider environmental and policy-levels. Problems with research design, lack of conceptual understanding or implementation are valid research concerns.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2006 The Royal Institute of Public Health
ISSN: 0033-3506
Keywords: social marketing; literature review; nutrition; physical activity; substance misuse
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Item ID: 20473
Depositing User: Ross Gordon
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2010 11:15
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2020 01:31
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU