Social Marketing: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives

By Marvin E. Goldberg; Martin Fishbein et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
Advertising Affordable Contraceptives:
The Social Marketing Experience

Philip D. Harvey DKT International, Washington, DC

The social marketing of contraceptives in developing countries has been remarkably successful in the past 30 years. Currently, 50 developing countries have contraceptive social marketing (CSM) programs in operation and these programs are providing contraceptive protection to nearly 14 million couples in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (DKT, 1996). Further, these programs are highly cost-effective, providing contraceptives at a remarkably low cost per couple served.

Social marketing has proven to be very flexible in responding to new situations. This has been most notable in Africa where government policies concerning the advertising and marketing of contraceptives changed radically and quickly in the late 1980s in response to the AIDS epidemic. Programs were soon implemented in more than a dozen African countries in response to this change in policy, with dramatic results. In 1994, more than 100 million condoms were sold through social marketing in sub-Saharan Africa, an area where this approach was virtually unknown before 1989.

The bad news is that these programs could be doing much more. Social marketing methodology is now well known. If all the world's major developing countries were host to contraceptive social marketing programs as effective as the projects in Bangladesh and Colombia (neither of which provides a particularly auspicious environment), then CSM programs would be serving 34 million couples in South Central and Southeast Asia alone (vs. today's 7 million), plus 9 million couples in Latin America (vs. today's 1.7 million), and a rapidly growing number in Africa.

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