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A Critical Overview of Social Marketing in Asia

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

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Bo Pang

Sameer A. Deshpande

Tuyet-Mai Nguyen

Jeawon Kim

Yara A. Almosa

Amna Arif

Denni Arli

Marat Bakpayev

Bayram Zafer Erdogan

Haruka Fujihira

Mohammad A. Kadir

Derek Ong Lai Teik

Patama Satawedin

Nedra Kline Weinreich

Murooj Yousef


Background: 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.

Design/methodology/approach: 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.

Findings: 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.


Pang, B., Deshpande, S. A., Nguyen, T., Kim, J., Almosa, Y. A., Arif, A., …Yousef, M. (2021). A Critical Overview of Social Marketing in Asia. Social Marketing Quarterly, 27(4), 302-323.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 25, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2021
Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Deposit Date Jul 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 19, 2022
Journal Social Marketing Quarterly
Print ISSN 1524-5004
Electronic ISSN 1539-4093
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 4
Pages 302-323
Public URL
Publisher URL


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