Is this health campaign really social marketing? A checklist to help you decide

Josephine Y. Chau*, Bronwyn McGill, Margaret M. Thomas, Tom E. Carroll, William Bellew, Adrian Bauman, Anne C. Grunseit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Issue addressed: Social marketing (SM) campaigns can be a powerful disease prevention and health promotion strategy but health-related campaigns may simply focus on the “promotions” communication activities and exclude other key characteristics of the SM approach. This paper describes the application of a checklist for identifying which lifestyle-related chronic disease prevention campaigns reported as SM actually represent key SM principles and practice. Methods: A checklist of SM criteria was developed, reviewed and refined by SM and mass media campaign experts. Papers identified in searches for “social marketing” and “mass media” for obesity, diet and physical activity campaigns in the health literature were classified using the checklist. Results: Using the checklist, 66.6% of papers identified in the “SM” search and 39% of papers identified from the “mass media” search were classified as SM campaigns. Inter-rater agreement for classification using the abstract only was 92.1%. Conclusions: Health-related campaigns that self-identify as “social marketing” or “mass media” may not include the key characteristics of a SM approach. Published literature can provide useful guidance for developing and evaluating health-related SM campaigns, but health promotion professionals need to be able to identify what actually comprises SM in practice. So what?: SM could be a valuable strategy in comprehensive health promotion interventions, but it is often difficult for non-experts to identify published campaigns that represent a true SM approach. This paper describes the application of a checklist to assist policy makers and practitioners in appraising evidence from campaigns reflecting actual SM in practice. The checklist could also guide reporting on SM campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • chronic disease
  • mass media
  • social marketing

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