Associate Professor Ekant Veer Associate Professor Ekant Veer CREDIT: University of Canterbury

Marketing can be a force for good

Thursday 18 July 2013, 1:27PM
By University of Canterbury

A University of Canterbury (UC) expert says marketing is often blamed for problems in society but believes it can be a force for good.

Fast food giants are allowed to advertise to children and sponsor children’s sports event, even though New Zealand has one of the highest obesity rates in the world.

On the other hand, advertisers are blamed for portraying women with unnatural body sizes and over photo-shopping models, which gives a false ideal as to what the perfect body is, leading to some people looking to lose weight, often in an unhealthy manner.

Marketing is blamed for forcing you to buy more than you can afford and run up unmanageable amounts of debt.  But what if marketing could actually be used to benefit society?

Associate Professor Ekant Veer will give a public lecture next week (July 24) on ways marketing can be used to benefit the welfare of New Zealanders and New Zealand society. See here for details:

``We are making advances in making marketing research accessible to those who need them most – the consumers who are being put under pressure by marketing giants.

``Social marketing and transformative consumer research is playing a more effective role at benefitting consumers and encouraging people to make choices that benefit them and society.

``We specifically look at why some campaigns, although well meaning, fail to have any real effect on curbing the health and wellbeing issues faced by many New Zealanders.

``Sport New Zealand Push Play campaign was effective at getting their message out to the New Zealand public, but had very little effect on getting people to actually exercise more.

``What if marketing could not only communicate a message, but also change people’s behaviour for the better? What if we could use Marketing to be part of the cure, rather than be the cause of society’s problems?

``Advertising campaigns are often used to improve our knowledge of how our lives could be better – we see this with public service messages regarding drink driving, healthy eating and anti-smoking campaigns.  However, making these messages effective at actually changing our behaviour is still something that eludes many governments and marketers.’’

Professor Veer says creating an effective campaign that focuses on the needs of those whose lives need improving is at the heart of transformative consumer research and social marketing.

His lecture will look at marketing campaigns aimed at helping people, rather than dictating what people should do and trying to scare them into behaving a certain way.