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close this bookSocial Marketing - Expanding access to essential products and services to prevent HIV/AIDS and to limit the impact of the epidemic (UNAIDS, 2000, 12 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWhat is Social Marketing?
View the documentCase Study: Myanmar
View the documentCase Study: The Female Condom
View the documentCase Study: South Africa and Nigeria
View the documentWhat is UNAIDS Role in Social Marketing?

Case Study: The Female Condom

Social marketing can be applied to new products and services.

The success of male condom social marketing in both family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention programmes has led to a natural progression to consider use of social marketing in creating interest and access to the female condom, a relatively new device that provides additional protection against STDs and HIV/ADS. The first large-scale social marketing launch of the female condom was the "care contraceptive sheath" in Zimbabwe in 1997. Female condom social marketing has now been tested and expanded in at least eight additional countries.

While social marketing uses commercial techniques and often works in close collaboration with government activities, social marketing programmes should not conflict with either normal private sector sales of products or the government's free distribution. In fact, all three mechanisms need to be complementary - each providing products to different audiences, thereby making the products more widely available to all. Where commercial marketing is competitive and profit-motivated, social marketing's primary objective is to improve health by expanding the market and use for specific products.


Each of these sectors has a delivery system, a target audience (or audiences) and standard methods of operation The table below gives some examples of the different sectors' approaches to promotion and distribution of the female condom

Public Sector

Social Marketing



Identical polyurethane sheath manufactured by The Female Health Company


Bulk foil - the Female Condom.

Brand name and package developed for project - the care contraceptive sheath, Dominique.

International or regional brand from the manufacturer - Reality, Femidom.


Free to the consumer.

Highly subsidised - retail price between 8 and 30 US cents per female condom.

Profit making - retail price in excess of $1 per female condom.


Clinics, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs).

Traditional and non-traditional outlets - very wide accessibility when and where people need the product.

Primarily in the developing world.

Mainly traditional outlets such as pharmacies and chain stores.

Primarily in Europe and North America.

Target Audience

Poorest of the poor, outside the cash economy. Clinic attendees.

Lower income groups. Specific target audiences.

Middle and upper income groups.


Posters, flip charts, peer education, health workers.

Brand advertising. Mass media, point-of-purchase, special events, in-store promotions.

Brand advertising. Limited mass media and point-of-purchase.

In addition to different distribution and pricing strategies - free in a clinic versus sold at a subsidized price in a liquor outlet, for example - the public sector and social marketing can develop different messages for their chosen audiences Again, collaborative development can prevent duplication and a misallocation of limited resources

UNAIDS, PSI and The Female Health Company, manufacturers of the female condom, collaborate on female condom social marketing programmes in several areas including development of resource materials, IEC tools and programming guides