Social Marketing in Latin America: A Historical Overview


This literature review is the first exploratory study of the evolution of social marketing in the Latin American region from 1960-2020. In this research article written by Latin American authors, Latin America is seen as region sharing a historical, cultural, linguistic, political, and socio-economic legacy beyond a territory.

The research methodology involved identifying studies detailing uses of social marketing in the region. Selection criteria included, for example, that the studies be written in Spanish, Portuguese and/or English. A total of 64 publications were reviewed. The results are presented chronologically as follows: The Precedents (1960-1979), The Beginnings (1980-1999), and The Millennium (2000-2020).

The findings highlight that in the Latin American region, social marketing approaches have been aimed more at influencing the behavior of people and communities (downstream and mid-stream) rather than structures and public policy (up-stream). Furthermore, the study finds that the use of social marketing has been highly demarcated by international funding, most notably between the 1970s and 1990s. Subsequently to this period the use of social marketing has diminished.

This study concludes with recommendations for future research, highlighting the need for further examination focused on how social marketing has been conceptualized in the region.

Authors: Marisol Alonso-Vázquez, Nathaly Aya Pastrana

Journal: Social Marketing Quarterly

Year of publication: 2022

Recommended reference: Alonso-Vázquez, M., & Aya Pastrana, N. (2022). Social Marketing in Latin America: A Historical Overview. Social Marketing Quarterly, 15245004211073188.

Keywords: social marketing, history, revision, Latin America

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Stephanie Aya Pastrana, MSc
Adherent Member


Stephanie is an architect from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali with a master’s degree in Urban Strategies and Design from the University of Edinburgh. She has professional experience in the design and development of architectural projects of different scales, also developing research projects related to the quality of public spaces in Cali (Colombia) and sustainable construction. She currently works as a consultant and full-time professor at the Faculty of Creation and Habitat of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali.