Government “Demarketing” as Viewed by its Target Audience

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper seeks to assess the strategic rationale and the effectiveness of government “demarketing” campaigns in the areas of smoking, binge drinking and private car usage.Design/methodology/approach – A survey of 257 young people in Northern Ireland was carried out, seeking their opinions on the effectiveness of current demarketing campaigns.Findings – Government demarketing initiatives are generally seen as ineffective, except for the banning of smoking in enclosed public places. Punishing disorderly behaviour caused by excess alcohol and making private driving more expensive are thought to achieve a certain degree of effectiveness.Practical implications – The UK Government has put considerable effort into demarketingcampaigns of this kind, with limited success. The need to rethink strategy and implementation is particularly urgent with regard to drinking behaviour and its consequences, because the government appears to be sending out mixed messages through its communications and its actions. Although continued pressure on smokers appears to be bringing results, the effectiveness of individual initiatives is variable. Lessons may be transferable to other areas of demarketing specifically andsocial marketing in general.Originality/value – The paper reports the views of young people, who are the main targets of most campaigns of this nature, and are future smokers, drinkers and drivers if they have not established those behaviour patterns already.Keywords Target audience, Government, Advertising, Social marketing, Lifestyles, United KingdomPaper type Research paper
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-135
JournalMarketing Intelligence and Planning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2007


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