IMC and Social Marketing: Together for the common good?

IMC1How does the concept of Integrated Marketing Communication work in the context of social marketing, where there is often agreement on the behavioural goal (e.g. more exercise), but a wide variety of organisations are active, sometimes competing with each other while trying to influence behaviour and guide behaviour change?

In our new article, available on-line now from the Journal of Social Marketing, we looked at just how the IMC model could be adopted to better fit into the social marketing/behaviour change context. Based on interviews with charities working in the HIV sector, we explore how a symbiotic relationship between IMC and social marketing can lead to both practical improvements of health-related social marketing campaigns, as well as theoretical advancement of the IMC construct.

Three key differences between the social marketing sector and the commercial sector emerged from our interviews: These included the differences of customer-centric approaches between commercial and social marketing. Secondly, the need to weigh out the application of IMC to the charity brand or the use of IMC at a behavioural level and, thirdly, different complexity levels of desired behaviour as a mediating factor.

Based on these insights, we suggest an amended model of IMC, and focus on the practical development of guidance how the largely commercially applied IMC construct can be modified to be used in a social marketing context, while showing how IMC needs to evolve to grow beyond purely commercial application.

Stephan Dahl , Lynne Eagle , David Low , (2015) “Integrated marketing communications and social marketing: Together for the common good?”, Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 5 Iss: 3, pp.226 – 240
Available online here

CFP: Latin America (International Journal of Advertising)

Bowen_AmericaOver the next few years, Latin America is predicted to be the fastest growing region in the world in terms of advertising spend (WARC, 2014). Yet, in spite of rapid growth and change, only a few studies in general marketing, and even fewer in marketing communications and advertising specifically, have examined this region or drawn upon data derived from Latin American countries (Fastoso & Whitelock, 2011).

This Special Issue aims to address the scarcity of region-specific research. The explicit objective is to increase our understanding and identify unique characteristics of marketing communications in the region. In line with the scope of the journal, empirical and conceptual papers in relation to all aspects of advertising and marketing communication from a Latin American perspective are welcome. As such, papers could focus on, but are by no means limited to, the following topics:

  • Views of marketing communications by practitioners, academics and policy makers in Latin America
  • Social media and (electronic) Word-of-Mouth in Latin America
  • Cross-cultural and comparative studies, e.g. across Latin American countries, or in comparison to other countries/cultures
  • Unique forms of advertising or promotional practices originating from or in the context of Latin America
  • Regulatory and ethical concerns and responses regarding marketing communication practices in Latin America
  • Symbiotic relationships between Latin America and expatriate communities in other parts of the world in terms of marketing communications
  • The state of cause-related advertising, green/environmental and social marketing-related advertising and marketing communications
  • Social identity, stereotypes, sex and gender, portrayal of other groups, values, culture or appeals in Latin American advertising.

Other topics are also welcome. All submissions should be explicit about their application to or use of data derived from Latin America.

Submission Instructions

In line with the journal policy, all submitted papers will be double-blind peer-reviewed. Submission is electronic through Editorial Manager. Style guidelines and instructions for authors are available here. All manuscripts must be in English. For all queries related to this special issue, please contact the Guest Editor directly.

The time path of the Special Issue is as follows:

15 November 2015 – submission of 500 words abstract for screening by Guest Editor

20 November 2015 – decision on development of full paper

31 January 2016 – submission of full paper and review

1 April 2016 – reviews and editorial decision communicated to authors

31 July 2016 – submission of revised papers

1 October 2016 – final decision on papers

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Stephan Dahl, Hull University Business School


*WARC. (2014, October 1). Latin America gains ad share. Retrieved March 2, 2015, from

**Fastoso, F., & Whitelock, J. (2011). Why is so little marketing research on Latin America published in high quality journals and what can we do about it?: Lessons from a Delphi study of authors who have succeeded. International Marketing Review, 28(4), 435–449. DOI:10.1108/02651331111149967

MAM: Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread (Unser tägliches Brot) is not a movie that focuses directly on marketing like the other movies I have presented as part of MAM. However, it can contribute to a powerful discussion about truth, deception and authenticity in marketing.

The movie doesn’t use any words at all (so don’t worry about it being in German!). Rather it is a collage of powerful images depicting how modern food production works, and how it transforms the “raw material” (such as living animals or fruit) into the final product.

It may at times be quite lengthy, so I don’t really recommend watching it in class, though a short bit of the movie might be ok.  The lengthy, commentary-less, sometimes shocking and almost surreal imagery used in the film brings home the message of how contemporary food production is treating those products we all consume. This look behind the scenes approach then lends itself, for example if you think of using it in a class room, to discuss the ethics of food marketing – and claims made by the food industry and appeals or imagery so frequently used of “happy animals, green pastures and pretty farms”…


Good bye conspicuous consumption?


Conspicuous consumption, i.e. purchasing of expensive goods to wastefully display wealth, rather than fulfil any actual needs, has been somewhat of a truism in luxury marketing for a long term (in fact, the literature can be traced back to the start of the 20th century). And the link is still apparently overtly visible in many parts of the world and across different populations – just think “the Village” in Westfield shopping centres, for example.  However, in a conceptual paper published in the current issue of the Journal of Marketing Management Eckhardt, Belk & Wilson point towards subtle shifts that are shaking the foundations of the conspicuous consumption truism that many marketers hold so dearly.  Continue reading

Social Media and Tribal Marketing – In Bogota


I’ll be delivering a special series of workshops and lectures on Tribal and Social Marketing as part of the Universidad de los Andes Summer School  in Bogota this year. The course is based on my Social Media Marketing book, and explores social media marketing from both a theoretical perspective, as well as how these theories can help to build practical social media marketing applications. The emphasis will be on taking a customer- or user-focused approach to social media marketing. Through developing an in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour, participants will learn how they can use social media tools strategically as part of a marketing campaign – above and beyond getting lost in platform specificities which would be outdated in a few years.

For more information on the course, please see the International Summer School website from the Universidad de los Andes here.

Out Now: Ethical and Social Marketing in Asia Book


Available now is a new and really exciting book focusing on both ethical marketing as well as social marketing specifically in Asia, edited by Bang Nguyen and Chris Rowley.

The book is divided into two parts: The first part focuses on ethical marketing, e.g. the application of ethics into the marketing process, the second on social marketing, e.g. using marketing concepts to influence a target audience for the greater social good.

Reflecting the diversity of Asia, each part is then further subdivided into country/region specific chapters, ranging from ethical marketing in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to social marketing Cambodia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam.


There is also chapter written by me in the book: The chapter looking at social marketing in China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, specifically focuses on the cross-cultural aspects of conducting social marketing in these countries. It does that by using the Framework for Cross-Cultural Social Marketing.

To get more information about the book, please take a look at the publisher’s website. Given the scarcity of material specifically looking at Asia, I’m sure it will be a seminal work in the area, highlighting much of the good work that is being done – and enabling researchers more easily to engage with this fascinating part of the earth.

CFP: Marketing and the LGBT Community

Call for Papers: “Marketing and the LGBT Community: Twenty Years On

Twenty years ago the Journal of Homosexuality published a seminal special issue looking at marketing and consumer behaviour amongst gay and lesbian consumers (published simultaneously as a book by Routledge). After two decades it is timely to publish a second special issue, focussing on the developments and advancements in marketing and consumer research and reflecting the changed socio-political environment of consumption behaviour of and marketing practices targeting LGBT individuals.

WJHMIn the ‘90s LGBT consumers emerged as an allegedly near mystical consumer group: educated, urban consumers with sophisticated taste, high disposable incomes and were generally regarded as opinion leaders for desirable consumer goods. Many welcomed targeting, and increased visibility, of the LGBT community as a sign of growing political and social acceptance and validation. However, commercialisation has also been contentious and critical voices warned about the influence it would have on the LGBT community. E.g. some academics feared commercial interests would result in “a privatized, depoliticized gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption.” (Duggan, 2002).

Others have argued that since the 1990s, Western societies transited into a Post-Gay phase, where diverse sexual orientations are no longer relevant, and LGBT individuals have “moved beyond the gay-only ghetto (…) [and into] a world where we are free, equal and safe to live our lives” (Collard, 1998). Thus, traditional consumption spaces and practices linked to lesbian and gay consumers, such as gay neighbourhoods, have been claimed to have lost their meaning (Ghaziani, 2010), and gay consumers have been assimilated into the mainstream. Simultaneously, marketers have become more comfortable with displaying LGBT characters in mainstream marketing campaigns, and overtly supporting LGBT activities (such as pride parades).

It is evident that LGBT consumption behaviour and marketing towards, or involving LGBT consumers, has significantly changed since the 1990s, and has evolved into multifaceted behaviours, spheres and spaces.

This special issue aims to bring together currently fragmented and disparate strands of research, The aim of the special issue is to advance our knowledge of the multifaceted contemporary consumption practices and stimulate debate across disciplines about the effects of, among others, commercialised gay spaces, alternative consumption practices linked to LGBT identity construction, anti-consumerist behaviour in and marketization of LGBT spaces, assimilation of the “gay community”, pinkwashing and other relevant topics.

Anticipated themes cover a wide variety of different topic areas, and include, but are not restricted to:

  • Contemporary LGBT identity construction through consumption
  • Consumption practices, including anti-consumption movements linked to the wider LGBT context
  • Alternative forms of LGBT identity expression and diversity of the LGBT “community”
  • LGBT identity in marketing and corporate social reasonability campaigns
  • Acceptance, Assimilation and Discrimination in the market place
  • International and cross-cultural comparisons of LGBT consumption behaviour
  • Social Marketing and health-related marketing aimed at LGBT individuals
  • Influence of social media on LGBT consumption and identity

Completed articles, of 6000-8000 words should be submitted to the guest editor of the special issue, Stephan Dahl at s d @ d a h l . at (please remove spaces) by 1 December 2015. Manuscripts should follow APA Publication Manual, 6th edition, and the style guidelines of the journal available here. For any queries, please contact Stephan Dahl directly.

You can also download the CfP as a PDF here.

CFP: Ethical Dimensions of Medical/Pharmaceutical Marketing

Special Issue of Marketing Intelligence and Planning

Contributing to the dialogue between researchers and practitioners, this special issue of the journal focuses on the ethical dimensions of medical / pharmaceutical marketing in the Web 2.0 (and beyond) era which we believe is timely, given reflecting the growing concern in a number of areas.  For example, while direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription medication is only formally permitted in the USA and New Zealand, electronic forms of DTCA (e-DTCA) enables consumers from other countries to access DTC material, including advertisements and social media sites.  The inadequacy of current DTC regulatory provisions is recognised, but little research has been conducted on eDTCA’s actual effects on patient information seeking behaviours and interactions with health professionals and how any potential benefits can be maximised and potential harms minimised.

We welcome submissions of papers addressing the above issues, but also other aspects of pharmaceutical marketing such as , but not limited to:

  • Medical tourism
  • Over-the-counter medicine promotion
  • Complementary and alternative medicine promotion
  • Marketing of cosmetics with potentially harmful effects (e.g. skin lightening creams).

As well as the papers themselves, a medical practitioner in conjunction with an academic will write a final piece for the issue reflecting on the papers selected, providing a link between practice and rigorous academic research.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact  the guest editors.

Submission deadline 30 June 2015

Publication of issue 2016

Submission to the issue is online – please see the author guidelines at for full details on manuscript requirements and how to submit.

Lynne Eagle & Stephan Dahl