A Human Rights-Based Approach to the Social Good in Social Marketing

Original Paper

Abstract

Social marketing has been established with the purpose of effecting change or maintaining people’s behaviour for the welfare of individuals and society (Kotler and Zaltman in J Market 35:3–12, 1971; MacFadyen et al. in The marketing book, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, 2003; French et al. in Social marketing and public health: Theory and practice, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2010), which is also what differentiates it from other types of marketing. However, social marketing scholars have struggled with guiding social marketers in conceptualising the social good and with defining who decides what is socially beneficial in different contexts. In this paper, we suggest that many dilemmas in identifying the social good in social marketing could be addressed by turning to human rights principles, and, in particular, by following a human rights-based approach. We examine a number of cross-cutting human rights principles—namely, transparency and accountability, equality and non-discrimination, and participation and inclusion—that are capable, in a practical way, of guiding the work of social marketers. Through an illustrative case study of the anti-obesity discourse, we present how these principles might help to address some of the challenges facing social marketing, both as a theory and practice, in meeting its definitional characteristic.

Keywords

Social marketing Social good Human rights-based approach Social issues Right to health Universal Declaration of Human Rights Human rights principles 

Abbreviations

AASM

Australian Association of Social Marketing

BMSG

Berkeley Media Studies Group

CESC

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

ESMA

European Social Marketing Association

ICESCR

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

ISMA

International Social Marketing Association

UDHR

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UK

United Kingdom

UN

United Nations

UNDG

United Nations Development Group

UNFPA

United Nations Population Fund

UNICEF

United Nations Children’s Fund

WHO

World Health Organization

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Law and JusticeSouthern Cross UniversityBilingaAustralia
  2. 2.Social Marketing @ Griffith, Department of Marketing, Griffith Business SchoolGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia

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