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When is social marketing not social marketing?

Hastings, Gerard and Angus, Kathryn (2011). When is social marketing not social marketing? Journal of Social Marketing, 1(1) pp. 45–53.

URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?article...
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/20426761111104428
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Abstract

Purpose – The paper aims to discuss the thorny issues of industry-funded social marketing campaigns. Can the tobacco industry be trusted to educate our children about the dangers of smoking? Is a brewer the best source of health promotion? The paper argues for transparency and critical appraisal.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper looks at the issues of tobacco and alcohol in more detail, emphasises the need for caution and suggests guidelines for future practice.

Findings – The fiduciary duty of the corporation means that all its efforts – including any social marketing campaigns or corporate social responsibility – must be focused first and foremost on the success of the business and the enhancement of shareholder value; any wider public health benefits will inevitably be subjugated to this core purpose. And there is good evidence to show that the principal beneficiaries of apparently public-spirited campaigns run by tobacco and alcohol companies are the sponsors. In the hands of a corporation, then, social marketing will always transmute into commercial marketing.

Practical implications – We should then proceed with our eyes wide open, alert to the danger of counterproductive outcomes, armed with independent evaluation and in the full knowledge that wherever industry-funded efforts to educate the public replace those run by objective third parties, harm will be done.

Originality/value – The paper, concerned with industry-sponsored social marketing, broadens the discussion beyond communications. It shows that it is necessary to consider the whole marketing mix, not simply advertising, when discussing social marketing.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN: 2042-6763
Keywords: social marketing; tobacco; corporate social responsibility; alcoholic drinks; advertising; public health
Academic Unit/Department: Open University Business School
Item ID: 35007
Depositing User: Helen Cooke
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2012 10:52
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2013 12:49
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/35007
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