Legal advantages for commercial enterprises:
Also, the laws pertaining to commercial advertising are much more liberal when compared to government run campaigns. One of the keys for the successful Bupa advertisement campaign was its portrayal of appealing and eye-catching visuals and attractive sloganeering, which cannot be reflecting the product or service accurately. In other words, there is an element of dishonesty and economy with the truth associated with these commercial campaigns. But a government agency cannot employ such techniques for their purpose as they are more liable than their business counterparts and are more accountable to the general public. This is another reason for the inappropriateness of comparing commercial and social marketing campaigns. To illustrate the point, let us consider the following description about the Bupa campaign.
An advertisement for back-care, is shown with a montage of images illustrating how back problems affect more than sixteen million people a year in the United Kingdom. It later shows viewers a team of Bupa back specialists providing “personal assessments, treatment and care”. But, more importantly, there is no time in the short advertisement for revealing the relatively high premiums required by those plans, as well as some other hidden costs. A business corporation like Bupa can get away with such economy with truth and achieve product awareness among its target audience, but a government department is required by law to be much more straight-forward and act in the real interest of the public as opposed to acting with the sole motive of profit-making (Fergenson, 1989).
The differences in advertisement content:
In recent years, marketing campaigns have been started in areas such as health promotion like anti-smoking, safety, recreational drug use, driving under the influence of alcohol, prevention of HIV/AIDS, healthy food and nutrition, physical fitness, inoculation and immunization campaigns, cancer support and screening, mental illnesses like depression, family planning and baby care, etc. Some other campaigns have aimed toward curbing indirect causes of ill-health, like “safer water, clean air, energy conservation, preservation of national parks and forests), education (e.g., literacy, stay in school ), economy (e.g., boost job skills and training, attract investors, revitalize older cities), and other issues like family violence, human rights, and racism”. In these popular campaigns a combination of the best elements of the conventional approaches to social change in integrated with sophisticated design and development framework, and employs cutting-edge communications technology and new theories in commercial marketing. In other words, commercial marketing is still of help to social marketing efforts. So, while the many disadvantages of employing a commercial marketing framework is the main theme of this essay, the utility of commercial marketing techniques deserves mention nevertheless. Through these techniques public discussions can be generated and awareness information promoted, resulting in changes in attitudes, values and behaviours. By doing so, it helps to create a climate conducive to social and behavioural change (Kotler, 2002).
Measures of Success:
While the measure of success for commercial marketing campaigns is the profits returned by them, the parameters of success for social marketing campaigns are quite different. In the case of the latter, the voluntary change in the public consciousness regarding a particular health issue is the yardstick of measuring success. So, while the medium is common, the method and the desired outcomes of the two marketing concepts are quite different (Fox, 1980). This is a strong argument against the employment of commercial marketing techniques for social purposes. To go back to our case study of Bupa, after six years of association with Ogiligy & Mather, the private medical insurance company is looking for a new advertising agency to run its campaigns. For example,
“The agency had been put on notice in the summer that its work was not thought to be up to scratch. A re-launch of the brand at the start of the year failed to materialise. Instead, TV viewers saw an evolved version of the ‘You’re amazing. We want you to stay that way’ campaign. Recently this has been supplemented with ads promoting BUPA’s hospitals and its screening service. But, all of these have failed in retaining the Bupa customer base and has led to subsequent dip in revenues”. (Cobb, 2005)