York University
Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies
School of Administrative Studies

Course Syllabus
M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.

AK/ADMS4280 3.0
Social Marketing
I retired as of July 1, 2015 and will no longer be supporting this website
                                           -- Louise Ripley

Updated 07/01/15


Welcome to Social Marketing. Read this syllabus carefully before registering and as you start the course, to be sure the course is what you want and that you are willing and able to meet the requirements. These pages form part of the rules you agree to by staying registered in this course.

Calendar Description Examines issues of social responsibility in business and how marketing theory and techniques may be used to promote more environmentally and socially conscious business practices

Undergraduate Business Students A grade of C+ or better in Introductory Marketing
Communications Studies students None
FES Masters students None

Course Director
Professor M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.
Atkinson 268C
lripley@yorku.ca (not by telephone)
Course Consultation Hours: TBA

Course Time and Location xxxxxx
Catalogue Number xxxxxx

Organization of the Course We meet once a week for three hours for twelve weeks in a traditional classroom, but I do not do a lot of traditional lecturing. You will be taking responsibility for your learning as you read the course materials and prepare to be active in in-class discussion and small group work. Students will work in groups to complete a project involving studying the topic in a "real-life" organization; some class time is provided for group work. We start each week with a brief discussion of how the topic for the week differs in Social Marketing from traditional Marketing, and then class time is spent in workshop fashion, with groups working on exercises to develop a Plan for a specific Social marketing product decided upon by their group. You are expected to stay for the full class. I keep records of group participation, and if your group feels someone is not pulling their weight, the group may drop someone from membership. 

This course syllabus is from the last time I taught the course, when the publishers were bringing out the new edition of the Social Marketing text. The text that I traditionally used to teach this course, Kotler, Philip and Eduardo Roberto (1989) Social Marketing: Strategies for Changing Public Behavior. New York: The Free Press, was becoming difficult to obtain so I have reproduced much of the material you need to do the Social Marketing Plan here on this web site (links below by chapter) which was designed to be used with that text. There is now a new second edition of this text and it is remarkably better than the first edition. Everything you need to complete the course is on the web pages, but clearly the new textbook adds a tremendous depth that the first one did not have, and a group using the new text to write their Marketing Plan well may have a subtly better Plan than a group who did not consult it, even though both might technically meet the requirements of the Plan as outlined on the website. I strongly recommend that each group ensure that at least one member has a copy of the new book. 

The Course Kit for this course is only online, and consists of this Course Syllabus and anything linked from it. The web pages are colour coded: each course has its own coloured stripe down the left side. The Teaching Policy Pages all have a common stripe; in addition to the ground rules and information about communicating, grades, and tests, there is page of frequently asked questions in courses I teach, and a warranty page that tells you that after completing a course with me you have a life-long invitation to return, either to ask for help or to give it, or just to chat. At the top of this page are links to pages that tell you about my teaching, research, and service, some more about me, a page of important other links, and a general alphabetical index  to my website.

This course can be taken as a fourth-year Honours business course, as an MES formal course (ES5078) or Independent Readings Course, by Communications Studies majors, or as an elective by any undergraduate Honours student. FES and Communications Studies majors may choose whether to work alone or in a group. All others will complete the final exam substitute as a group project. If you miss assignment to a group on the first night, we will find you a group with other latecomers the next week, but it is to your advantage to be there the first night to get started. 

Important Dates
Start Date
xxxxxx End Date xxxxxx
Grade Components Date xxxxxx 
Last Day to Drop Without a Grade xxxxxx
Last Day to Enrol Without Permission of Professor xxxxxx
(Read here why I do not give permission to enrol after this date or in a class that is full)
Academic Fees
   Information About Helping Finance Your University Education
Dates for Withdrawal and Return of fees

Course Readings and Materials
Kotler, Philip, Ned Roberto, and Nancy Lee (2002) Social Marketing:
Improving the Quality of Life
, second edition. Sage Publications.
Warning: Photocopying more than 10% of a textbook is illegal, and may involve penalties. Do not duplicate textbooks or obtain these photocopies. 

Supplementary Reading Regular reading of a good daily newspaper and some of the popular business magazines

Topics and Readings

September 11
Required Readings Kotler and Roberto Chapter 1 
Skim the web-page material and look over the textbook. We will talk about what Social Marketing is and isn't, and how you want to spend your semester exploring its application to a particular issue

September 18
Effecting Change
Required Readings KR2

Guest Speaker Glenn Gumulka, Masters of Environmental Studies candidate AND a graduated MBA who works for Procter and Gamble, will come to speak to us about Social Marketing
Find here a list of the sources Glenn referred to, and more

Click here to visit Glenn's website on sustainable living

September 25
Creativity in Business Problem Solving

Class at the Burton Auditorium to see David Ben in performance. This is at the heart of Social Marketing - taking traditional business techniques and using them in creative ways to solve problems other than what they were originally designed for 
October 2
Social Marketing PlanEnvironments
Required Readings K16, 4-6

Due: Critical Analysis Group Paper

October 9
The Social Product
Required Readings KR 7
October 16
Required Readings KR 8
October 23
Required Readings KR 9

I am away this week at the conference I usually attend in the fall on Issues in Business and Technology (where I do most of the research I use in teaching this course). Meet with your groups, figure out what "cost" means in Social Marketing and next week you can explain it to me!

October 30
Required Readings KR 10-2
Michael Gilbert's Multi-Modal Argumentation
November 6
Action and Service
Required Readings KR 13-14
November 13
In-Class Test
On all course materials so far
November 20
Influence Groups
Required Readings KR 15
November 27
Informal Presentations of Plans
No PowerPoint, no overheads, no notes! Just come prepared to get up and tell us in ordinary English what you've been working on. No points given for this but it'll cost you 5 marks if you don't show up

Due:  by 7:15 Final Exam Substitute Group Project Social Marketing Plan

Getting Started 
What You Will Need To Complete This Course
To be registered: unless you are registered in this section of this course, I cannot grade your work
Regular access to a Yorku.ca student (or York employee) email account: Click here to activate
   We use this for group work correspondence and it's how I contact you individually
The Webpage Learning Units prepared by the professor: access these at any time; I use no passwords
Textbook: find this at the York University Bookstore and other places
  Willingness to participate in class discussion; review the Waving Hand Exercises in each week's online materials to prepare for discussion
Time to spend in contact with group members for the Final Exam Substitute Project
Contact addresses for possible help:

Academic Integrity:  http://www.yorku.ca/academicintegrity/students/index.htm
Administrative Questions: akcde@yorku.ca or your home faculty
Awards:  http://sfs.yorku.ca/aid/index.htm
Computer Help: helpdesk@yorku.ca
Computer PC Help: http://www.helpwithpcs.com/ or http://www.pcguide.com/
Computers better than you own: York computer labs

Computers, Getting connected: Communications Policy Page
Grade Reappraisal :  http://www.yorku.ca/laps/students/reappraisal.html
Internet Basics: http://www.learnthenet.com/english/index.html
Petitions :  http://www.yorku.ca/laps/council/students/petitions.html
Professor, reaching me: lripley@yorku.ca (tell me your name and course number) 
Uploading Assignments at eServices Office: disted@yorku.ca or 416-736-5831
Web page use on Louise's site:
Idiot's Guide to This Web Site
Writing:  http://www.yorku.ca/laps/writ/writing_centre.html

Course Purpose/Learning Objectives/Expanded Course Description

In addition to basic teaching objectives that are common to all courses I teach, in this course I want you to develop an appreciation for the power of Social Marketing. A reviewer of the new edition of the Kotler/Roberto/Lee text says of Social Marketing that it “is an extremely powerful set of concepts and tools that can accomplish much to relieve the pain and suffering of populations around the world and to address social problems that have their roots in undesirable behaviors.”

This is what Social Marketing is all about – using techniques and proven theory from the field of Marketing to address social issues mainly through attempting to change behaviour in ways that benefit society. In this course, we take Marketing step-by-step to create a Social Marketing Plan. The new edition of the classic 1989 Kotler/Roberto text covers each area of traditional marketing as it relates to Social Marketing in extensive detail, with in-depth case studies and examples taken from hundreds of real-life Social Marketing campaigns. 

A NOTE ABOUT TEAMWORK Part of the curriculum of Business education is learning to work in teams; you cannot do the Final Exam Substitute Group Project alone. Take a look now at the project and be sure that you are willing and able to commit to it the time and cooperation it requires. It is a term-long project, and is not to be left until the last week.

Evaluation Summary and Description of Assignments
Effective writing is one of the most important skills you can acquire in a university course, and one that you will use in your education, your career and your life; so too is the skill of following instructions. All assignments in all courses I teach require you to write well and to submit work properly. Read carefully the full instructions on this web site on Writing Well for a Better Grade, on References, and on Format For Submitting Work Properly, and check out the Writing Programmes. Do not assume that because you have written papers before you have mastered the art; writing is something we continually work on to improve. Note that you may be asked to make reference in tests to any assignments and final projects.

Assignment Type % of Grade Due Date Description
(click on link for further description)
Individual Work      
Test 35%   In-class test on all course materials
Examples of Test Questions
Group Work      
Assignment 20%   Critical Analysis Group Paper
Final Exam Substitute 45%   Social Marketing Plan

Critical Analysis Group Paper
Although this assignment is the first step toward the final project, it is NOT the Plan itself, but rather it is the theoretical and social/emotional exploration of the issue that must precede the creation of any Social Marketing Plan. Start this paper by describing briefly in not more than 5 lines a social issue which you wish to market including to whom you are marketing it. Then, making clear reference to course materials, in a total of no more than 5 pages, double spaced, do two things. Discuss why the issue is important, including both how the members of your group feel about the subject ("i" statements by name or anonymously) and how the issue is currently viewed in academic writing and the popular press  (the epistemological showdown, but a discussion, not just a list of books). Then outline some of the issues you anticipate facing in designing a marketing plan to promote your product to this target market, including how you expect to meet those challenges. See instructions for submitting work (no binders, stapled only, etc.). Use the language of social marketing as described in the web pages; for example, with respect to the Product, you will want to state whether you will be marketing an idea (smoking is bad), a behaviour (quit smoking), or a tangible good (a physical device like a patch).  With respect to the campaign, consider the terms Monopolization, Canalization, and Supplementation. There are no further written instructions on this paper. 

Final Exam Substitute Group Project - Social Marketing Plan (PAGE LIMIT - 15 pages)
The Social Marketing Plan is done much like an Introductory Marketing Plan, but with a social issue as the product. Structure your Social Marketing Plan according to how it is laid out in Unit 3 here on the web site. Due to the fact that we have two very different textbooks in the class, I will grade these projects based on what is commonly available to all, which is the material on this web site. This is a term-long project to be worked on during the term; it is not a one-week assignment to be left till the last minute. Some of you have asked whether to write in essay form or point form and the answer is "both." There will be times when it will be appropriate to list things in bullet form, and there will be times when you will be discussing something or justifying a decision and sentence form will be appropriate. There are no further written instructions on this project. If you wish to review what a Marketing Plan looks like, click here to go to the one I use to teach the Introductory Marketing Plan Assignment.

Some Topics Studied by Previous Students in This Course

Interface between environment &  business Promoting the corporate image
The real purpose and true costs of marketing Promotion of tobacco and smoking
Automobile Dependency Teaching environmental issues to children
Social Marketing and community development The efficacy of fear appeals
Marketing of eco-tourism: green effort or exploitation? The role and responsibility of top management in environmental decisions
Economic utility as a measure of consumer satisfaction Micro versus macro marketing: what should we want?
Governmental versus self regulation Employee rights
Selling business on the environment: What's the bottom line? Does advertising make us buy things we don't need?
Health care issues - AIDS, hospital versus home care, family planning Privacy issues in marketing research and telemarketing
Convincing Business that environmental issues are serious The need for better informed and educated consumers, Consumer rights
International marketing issues: Free Trade Marketing of organic farm produce
Ending Child Labour in Nepal through the Toronto Community Green Marketing, including riding the bandwagon of green marketing and its abuse by corporations
Ethics of gambling and casinos Drug, tobacco, and alcohol abuse
Stereotypes of women and minorities in advertising Drinking and driving
Marketing and Native communities Volunteerism
Rights of Gays in the Military Abortion
Substance Abuse The Church of Scientology
Promoting the Adoption of Pets Eco-Tourism
Teen Dieting Marketing A Green Conscience
Advertising to children Rights of Disabled Children
Legalizing Marijuana Educating Canadian Youth on Racial Issues
Genetically Modified Foods Teenage Pregnancy

NOTE: A student's final course grade is not necessarily confined to a compilation of marks earned on individual course components. Final course grades may be adjusted to conform to Programme or Faculty grades distribution profiles. The average mark in this course is usually a low B.


If you took the required Introductory Marketing prerequisite some time ago and would like a review, or if it is new to you as a Masters student and you'd like a look at it, click here to view the materials I use to teach Intro on the Internet 

Grading, Assignment Submission, Lateness Penalties and Missed Tests

Grading The grading scheme for the course conforms to the 9-point grading system used in undergraduate programmes at York. For a full description of York grading system see the York University Undergraduate Calendar. Students may take a limited number of courses for degree credit on an ungraded (pass/fail) basis. For full information on this option see Alternative Grading Option and scroll down to "Grading." 

Assignment Submission To be submitted in the classroom

Lateness Penalty/Missed Tests: Proper academic performance depends on students doing their work not only well, but on time. Accordingly assignments for this course must be received on the due date specified for the assignment. With the exception of the Final Exam Substitute, you may submit any assignment up to one week late for a grade of not more than the lowest mark earned by anyone who handed it in on time. For the Final Exam Substitute, you may hand it in up to one DAY late with the same arrangement. In either case, you do not have to request the extension, just send the late paper to my personal email: lripley@yorku.ca. Due to large class sizes, I can no longer make informal arrangements for exceptions to the lateness penalty or for missing a test. If you must defer work or miss a test for any reason, and wish to obtain full credit for it, you must do it by petitioning for a Deferred Standing Agreement. The one exception to this is if you are registered with the Office for Persons with Disabilities or a York Counseling Centre, in which case, please contact me directly as early in the course as possible either in person or by email at lripley@yorku.ca.

About Your Professor
picture of Louise Ripley by Timothy Hudson
photograph by Timothy Hudson
I'm your professor, Louise Ripley. Call me "Louise" or address me as "Dr. Ripley" but just don't call me "Miss" because where I grew up that's for young girls, old unmarried ladies, and schoolmarms, or "Mrs. Ripley" because that's my Mom; I'm happily married but I'm not anyone's "Mrs." The name Ripley belonged to my labour-union-organizer father and I carry it proudly. My office is 268C Atkinson. Email me; I don't answer my phone but I'm always on the email.

I am a Professor of Marketing and in Women's Studies and Environmental Studies, with a PhD in Management Studies (major in Marketing) from University of Toronto, an MBA in Finance from Loyola University of Chicago, and a Bachelor's degree from Shimer, one of the world's finest (and smallest) liberal arts undergraduate schools. I worked in Finance and Marketing Research in Chicago and have taught at York for over twenty years. Click here to read more about me professionally and personally. 

Social Marketing is one of my favourite courses to teach. I have a deeply rooted and long-time interest in the environment, having started my academic life as a botany major, and I get particular enjoyment out of using the techniques and theory we learn from Marketing to promote good causes, which is essentially what Social Marketing is all about. Social Marketing is "the use of marketing principles and techniques to advance a social cause, idea, or behaviour" (Kotler/Roberto text p. 24). It is NOT what too many companies are doing today - using social causes to promote products. 

I started this course a decade ago when although we had three business programmes and a faculty of Environmental Studies, no one at York taught anything that combined business theory and environmental issues. Marketing was a particularly apt field in which to develop this combination of disciplines because Philip Kotler, the man who coined the term Social Marketing had just brought out a book by the same name. In addition to the course objectives common to all the courses I teach, this course aims to help you examine issues of social conscience in the area of marketing and how marketing can both help and hinder our realization of better living and working conditions. 

I use the same feminist pedagogy teaching this course as I do teaching Gender Issues in Management. The use of feminist pedagogy means we employ methods of research and teaching that may be new to you, particularly as a business student. One of my York mentors was dian marino, a professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies who so detested hierarchies that she refused to capitalize her own name. She taught that although we still need to read what experts have written, our own experience and what we feel and believe is just as important and as educational. The academic practice of proving our point by lining up behind us all the published, (usually) dead, (usually) white (usually) male authors who wrote what we believe, dian referred to as "the epistemological showdown." We still need to read and critique the work of others, but we also need to use what she called "i" statements: to put into your writing how YOU feel, how YOU react, what YOU think. I expect to see both in your work. 


Academic Honesty and Integrity York students are required to maintain high standards of academic integrity and are subject to the Senate Policy on Academic Honesty. By staying in this course, you agree to abide by these rules. Students should also review materials on the Academic Integrity Website.

I expect that all work submitted by individuals or groups is the work of only that individual or group, for only this course, not having been done for any other course in any way, by the current members or any one else. You are welcome to talk with anyone you like while preparing for any part of this course, but what you put together and hand in must be your own work and original to this course. Violation of these premises is grounds for prosecution under the rules of the Faculty and the University. 

Read here York's new booklet, "Beware! Says Who? Avoiding Plagiarism"

Accommodation Procedures:

Deferred Standing: I do not give permission to defer work. If you feel you must defer work, you must petition. See School Policy on Deferred Exams.
Students with Special Needs
York University is committed to making reasonable accommodations and adaptations in order to make equitable the educational experience of students with special needs and to promote their full integration into the campus community. If you require special accommodations, alert the Course Director as soon as possible. Failure to notify the course director of your needs in a timely manner may jeopardize the opportunity to arrange for academic accommodation. Visit the Counselling Centre for more information.

Ethics Review Process York students are subject to the York University Policy for the Ethics Review Process for Research Involving Human Participants. In particular, students proposing to undertake research which involves human subjects such as interviewing the director of a company or government agency or having people complete a questionnaire, are required to submit an Application for Ethical Approval of Research Involving Human Participants at least one month before you plan to begin the research. If you are in doubt as to whether this requirement applies to you, contact your Course Director immediately.

Grade Component Deadline
The course assignment structure and grading scheme (i.e. kinds and weights of assignments, essays, exams, etc.) must be announced and be available in writing to students within the first two weeks of classes. Please see Important Dates.

Graded Feedback Rule
Under normal circumstances, students should receive some graded feedback worth at least 15% per cent of the final grade for Fall, Winter or Summer term, and 30% for full-year courses in the Fall/Winter term prior to the final date for withdrawal from a course without receiving a grade, with the following exceptions:

  • graduate or upper level undergraduate courses where course work typically, or at the instructor's discretion, consists of a single piece of work and/or is based predominantly or solely on student presentations;
  • practicum courses;
  • ungraded courses;
  • courses in Faculties where the drop date occurs within the first three weeks of classes;
  • courses which run on a compressed schedule, e.g.: a course which accomplishes its academic credits of work at a rate of one credit hour per two calendar weeks or faster.

Note: Under unusual and/or unforeseeable circumstances which disrupt the academic norm, instructors are expected to provide grading schemes and academic feedback in the spirit of these regulations as soon as possible. For more information, see the Graded Feedback Rule.

For reappraisal procedures and information, see thttp://www.yorku.ca/laps/students/reappraisal.html .

Religious Observance Days York University is committed to respecting the religious beliefs and practices of all members of the community and making accommodations for observances of special significance to adherents. Should any of the dates specified in this syllabus for in-class test or examination, or for any scheduled lab, practicum, workshop or other assignment pose a conflict for you, contact the Course Director within the first three weeks of class and obviously before the date that is a problem; you cannot do this after-the-fact. To arrange an alternative date or time for an examination scheduled in the formal examination periods (December and April/May), students must complete an Online Examination Accommodation Form or pick one up from the Student Client Services in the Student Services Centre.

Student Conduct Students and instructors are expected to maintain a professional relationship characterized by courtesy and mutual respect and to refrain from actions disruptive to such a relationship. It is the responsibility of the instructor to maintain an appropriate academic atmosphere in the classroom, and the responsibility of the student to cooperate in that endeavour. The instructor is the best person to decide, in the first instance, whether such an atmosphere is present in the class. Read the full Policy on Disruptive and/or Harassing Behaviour.

Twenty Percent (20%) Rule No examination or test worth more than 20% of the final grade will be given during the last two weeks of classes in a term, with the exception of classes which regularly meet Friday evenings or any time on Saturday or Sunday.

Questions? Try:
Comprehensive Index to the website
Home Page Search Engine
Teaching Policies links
Links to Other Information at the Top of this Page
email me: lripley@yorku.ca 

AP/ADMS4280 3.0/FES5078 Social Marketing
York University, Toronto
© M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.