This paper aims to illustrate the need for both upstream and downstream social marketing in relation to condom merchandising in the Vietnamese context.
A mystery shopper audit of condom merchandising practices and retail outlets was undertaken in a number of locations throughout Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In addition to the audits, a series of depth interviews with retailers of condoms on barriers and facilitators for purchase was undertaken.
The research highlighted some very interesting dynamics in relation to condom retailing in Vietnam. Condoms are not always made easy to purchase, through both the merchandising and other choices made by the retailers. While accessibility to condoms is no longer an issue in urban Vietnam considering the increase of condom retailing outlets, lack of easy access is highly problematic and may interfere with actual condom obtainment. As sex is still a taboo topic in Vietnam, this is a serious concern for social marketing in the sexual and reproductive health domain.
Given the capacity to portray taboo topics in Vietnamese media context, social marketing will be challenging. The development of a social marketing strategy for macro-, meso- and microlevels will be necessary for successful social marketing. Stigma associated with safe-sex practices and condom use may require a consideration of a social norms social marketing campaign.
This research is the first of its kind in the Vietnamese context. While there are a large number of non-governmental organisations campaigning in the region, safe-sex practices and condom use within the general population remains a concern. This research demonstrates that access and availability are key components of the social marketing mix.
Hong Hai Nguyen, D., Parker, L., Brennan, L. and Clements, A. (2014), "The taboo question: Condom retailing in Vietnam and social marketing implications", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 133-154. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSOCM-08-2013-0053Download as .RIS
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