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We define public health marketing broadly as the use of marketing tools (segmentation, targeting, positioning, and the four Ps) to encourage behaviour change that will deliver the social good defined as public health. We explore the ethical challenges and risks that confront public health and social marketers. In particular, we note that public health marketers with a self-defined goal of delivering a social good face two major ethical challenges: the first is establishing the ethicality of the social good itself; the second is distributing the social good in an ethically defensible way. In particular, we draw attention to the central conflict of balancing the utilitarian benefits of public health with the rights and needs of individuals. This in turn leads to consideration of the issues of paternalism and the degree of influence that might be deemed appropriate for public health marketing.
This document has been peer reviewed.