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Social Marketing and Public Health: Effective Campaigns and How They Work

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Date Developed: 9/1/2009. Source: MidAtlantic Public Health Training Center. Presenter(s): W. Douglas Evans, PhD, MA; Terry Long. Type: Video Course. Level: Introductory. Length: 60 minutes.


This video provides an overview of social marketing and recent effective public health campaigns. The first presenter, Dr. Evans, discusses social marketing in a broad sense and how it differs from health communications and social media as well as the evidence for effectiveness. The four main theoretical foundations are discussed, followed by various social marketing strategies/tactics commonly used. Dr. Evans discusses major social marketing campaigns recently targeted to adolescents, such as the truth campaign, an anti-tobacco campaign. Additional campaign and initiative examples presented include VERB, mHealth, and text4baby.

The second presenter, Terry Long, focuses on the Heart Truth, a successful social marketing campaign initiated by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI, presenting its inception, how it was developed, the implementation strategy, and why it works. She begins with an overview about heart disease and women and the impact of awareness, followed by highlights of the campaign such as the branding power, corporate partnerships, and community action. Finally, the impact of the campaign is discussed. A question and answer session follows the two presentations.

Learning Objectives

• Understand what is social marketing.

• Learn social marketing theories and strategies.

• Describe principals and evidence of effectiveness.

Special Instructions

To access the presentation, scroll down the page to the embedded video screen and click the “play” button.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.