Up, up and away: social marketing breaks free

Dibb, Sally (2014). Up, up and away: social marketing breaks free. Journal of Marketing Management, 30(11-12) pp. 1159–1185.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2014.943264


The social marketing literature has been dominated by questions about the field’s legitimacy along with the ethical and other implications of its relationship with commercial marketing. In reviewing social marketing’s origins and considering its future, this paper acknowledges then moves beyond these concerns, enabling a focus on the opportunities created for this vibrant field in the current environment. Three thematic areas frame the paper’s discussion: the legitimacy of social marketing as a field in its own right; the broadening and deepening of the field and the consequences for social change; and the strengths and opportunities arising out of social marketing’s relationship with mainstream marketing. The paper reviews social marketing’s origins, before considering how the field might draw on the turbulent environment and the dynamic developments taking place within marketing to shape its future.

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