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Conference Review: Social Marketing Downunder conference 10-11 March 2005, Wellington, New Zealand.

Author: Jennifer Harris, Project Manager - Social Marketing, Health Sponsorship Council, New Zealand.

Exciting, inspiring, and a good opportunity to refresh my thinking on social marketing

Such were the comments at the end of the social marketing conference held in Wellington earlier this year. The conference was the second organised by the Health Sponsorship Council with the assistance of an organising committee drawn from a range of government and non-government social marketing organisations.

Social marketing has seen considerable growth in the past few years and this was reflected in the number of registrations ? 211 ? at the conference.

An undoubted highlight of the conference was the opening keynote address by Professor Gerard Hastings, Director of the Institute of Social Marketing and the Centre for Tobacco Control Research at Stirling and the Open University in Scotland. His presentation ? From Opium of the People to Liberation Theology ? was both entertaining and challenging. He took delegates through a brief history of social marketing, provided an analysis of what the tobacco industry might make of us (a bit of a mess) and finished with challenging social marketers to start doing some strategic thinking, relation management and competitive analysis.

Other plenary sessions included a panel presentation on building a business case for social marketing, a presentation by Jill Caldwell challenging delegates to change the way they approached social marketing & market research, and a thought-provoking paper by Professor Rob Donovan on the true scope of social marketing.

Parallel sessions featuring proffered papers were also included in the two-day programme. These ranged from thought pieces such as Tracey Bridges (Senate Communications) Bursting the stages of change bubble ? why Prochaska and Diclementes theories are not always helpful in the social marketing context ? to social marketing case studies such as the one presented by Terry Parminter (AgResearch) reported on in this issue of PRism.

The organisers were delighted with the positive feedback about the conference and will later this year start planning the next conference to be held in 2007.

The conference websitecan be viewed via the social marketing downunder website at The site includesa range of presentationsplus information on how to order a conference CD, and other information and case studies on social marketing.

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