This paper considers social marketing from a critical perspective. The paper traces the history of the donation system named ‘hometown tax’ that the Japanese government introduced to promote local revitalization of relatively marginal communities. Owing to the lavish reciprocal gifts to “donors” by the administrators of these communities, the system resulted in a quasi-market that allowed donors to avoid paying taxes and to receive special benefits. Our analysis reveals the divergence of the intents and effects of this social marketing intervention. The findings indicate that during social marketing attempts to carry out effective and well-intentioned interventions, which social marketing research has always advocated, societal perversions may occur sometimes. This is owing to the neoliberal governmentality, which is behind such interventions, and which causes unintended actions and consequences that distract from the ideal social good, even when interventions are formulated and launched with laudable intentions. This paper indicates the critical issues that social marketing should address and provides a reflective viewpoint on social marketing. It points to pitfalls and problems in effective interventions for individual behavioral change and social change.
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Hidaka, Yuichiro and Mizukoshi, Kosuke
"From Social Marketing to Societal Perversion: History of Hometown Tax in Japan,"
Markets, Globalization & Development Review:
1, Article 3.