University of Sussex
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Making a difference: a study of the 'social marketing' campaign in awareness creation of gender based violence in Ghana

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posted on 2023-06-09, 00:34 authored by Marian Tsegah
Within feminist scholarship advertising – representing women as wives, mothers and sexual objects – has long been regarded as patriarchal, blocking women’s liberation (Talbot 2000) and thus an impossible practice for progressive activism. More recently, however, approaches acknowledge advertising as a ‘tool’ deployed for a range of ‘political’ ends, encouraging changes in values, understandings and behaviors. Such advertising is often referred to as ‘social marketing’. This thesis focuses on one such campaign in Ghana between 2007 and 2009 attempting to raise awareness about gender violence. This campaign is considered in the context of the position of women in post-colonial Ghana and tracked across the different processes of a ‘circuit of culture’ (including production, representation, consumption) through which meanings are made (du Gay et al 1997). The thesis explores the campaign’s inception, production, mobilization within educational and ‘consciousness-raising’ endeavors, the form and textual construction of the ads (largely posters), women’s (and some men’s) understanding of the posters and gender violence. Methodologically, the project involved interviewing twelve individuals in key organizations working with the public, victims, and on the campaign. It also involved collecting a sample of ten ad posters and conducting eight ‘focus group’ discussions with women and some men. Findings suggest that the campaign did lead to increased awareness of gender violence across gender, generations and literacy levels. Nevertheless, audiences/consumers interpreted the campaign posters in very distinctive ways, depending on the resonance with their own lives. Further, constraints on reporting abuse still held, not least on account of the embarrassment and shame of admission. Overall the thesis contributes to scholarship on social marketing but more particularly to debates about improving women’s position in Ghana.


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  • eng


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