A Critical Overview of Social Marketing in Asia

Bo Pang, Sameer Deshpande, Tuyet-Mai Nguyen, Jaewon Kim, Yara A. Almosa, Amna Arif, Denni Arli, Marat Bakpayev, Bayram Zafer Erdogan, Haruka Fujihira, H. P. Samanthika Gallage, Mohammad A. Kadir, Ong DLT, Patama Satawedin, Nedra Kline Weinreich, Murooj Yousef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social marketing has been used in Asia to combat various social issues (Deshpande & Lee (2013). However, our understanding of social marketing awareness, adaptation, and achievement in Asian countries is limited.

The focus of the Article
An historical overview of social marketing developments in Asia.

Importance to the Social Marketing Field
This paper is one of the first attempts to integrate social marketing theory and practice in Asia to understand its strengths and weaknesses and to provide a recommendation to enhance the adoption and effectiveness of social marketing program design, implementation, and evaluation to generate social and behavioral change.

The authors representing 18 Asian countries searched for social marketing growth and trends in prominence, conceptual developments, social issues and solutions, and effectiveness in English and local language literature. This paper describes themes by highlighting examples of initiatives.

Our analysis reveals a broad spectrum of social marketing practices in Asia, focusing traditionally on managing overpopulation and preventing communicable diseases and, more recently, non-communicable diseases and climate action. The practice also revealed close integration with policies, overreliance on the government sector, lack of robust research studies, theorizing, documentation, training, and community involvement, and challenges presented by cultural factors and the confusion of understanding the term.

Recommendations for research or practice
The study recommends establishing the Asian Social Marketing Association and Asian Social Marketing Institute, adopt a Total Market Approach, improve documentation, clarify the boundaries of social marketing, enhance the effectiveness of strategies by embracing research, involving the beneficiary communities, and by learning from others.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Marketing Quaterly
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2021


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