Smokey the Bear

1882 Words8 Pages
Rethinking Smokey Bear
Social Marketing Has Come a Long Way Out of the Forest
Barry Schoenfeld
A few years ago, Smokey the Bear turned 50. Since the life expectancy of your average bear is only 22 ½ years, we can be pretty sure that’s he’s alive only in the continuing series of public service ads (PSAs) that have featured him since the 1950s.
Because he’s certainly not alive in what the nation’s best PSA advertising has since “morphed” into... what we now call “Social Marketing.”
Sure, maybe you’ve heard the term. It’s even become fashionable in some marketing circles. But what exactly is it? And why should agencies care?
To begin with, social marketing is not the PSAs
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On numerous occasions, with a wide range on differing issues in the U.S. and abroad, social marketing has been statistically and quantitatively proven to work. Just take a look at these few examples: * Family planning campaigns incorporating social marketing techniques have been successful in countries around the world. A program in Sri Lanka recently helped avert over 60,000 unwanted pregnancies in a three-year period. * Stanford University’s Heart Disease Prevention Program used a variety of social marketing concepts in its multi-media campaign, and demonstrated long term changes in hard to change social habits such as diet and exercise. * The U.S. High Blood Pressure Education Program is a public-private cooperative effort formed to help reduce death and disability related to hypertension, which is at the root of 50% of those suffering heart attacks and two-thirds of those suffering strokes. Using a campaign that integrates social marketing to first build awareness of the “silent killer,” and then encourage action, awareness of the problem more than tripled to over 90% and those seeking treatment more than doubled within a single decade. * The asher&partners campaign to help prevent the spread of HIV, which uses a gritty, peer-to-peer, reality-based approach,
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