Social Marketing

Its Meaning, Use, and Application for Health Communication

Authored by: Timothy Edger , Julie E. Volkman , Alison M. B. Logan

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  April  2011
Online publication date:  August  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415883146
eBook ISBN: 9780203846063
Adobe ISBN: 9781136931673


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While preparing the manuscript for this chapter, the first author sat down at his computer one morning to check e-mail. In his list of messages, he discovered a response to a post that appeared earlier in the day on theSocial Marketing Listserv sponsored by Georgetown University. A graduate student in health communication had posted a query in which she said that she was working on a project for a local high school that had asked her to develop a communication plan to reduce heavy marijuana use among students. In her posting, she said that she intended to use “strategies to execute some sort of campaign, or materials (video ad, posters, class activities) to use at the high school.” Within a few hours, she received a response from Michael Rothschild, one of the leading scholars of social marketing, in which he suggested that she read a recent publication in theAmerican Journal of Public Health that reported on the results of the evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign for which the U.S. Congress appropriated nearly $1 billion (Hornik, Jacobsohn, Orwin, Piesse, &Kolton, 2008). Professor Rothschild noted that the results showed no positive behavior change as a result of the campaign. He remarked that “If they couldn’t do anything with $1 billion, your desired communications campaign may not fare any better. May I encourage you to consider marketing [our emphasis] rather than messages [also our emphasis] as a way to change target behaviors?” 1

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