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Volume 8, Supplement 1 – Winter 2014

The role of social marketing organizations in strengthening the commercial sector: case studies for male condoms in Myanmar and Viet Nam.

Kim Longfield, PhD, MPH,1 James Ayers, BBA,1 Han Win Htat (Ko Htat), MB, BS,2 Josselyn Neukom, MPA,3 Oana Lupu, BS, 1 David Walker, MBA. 1
Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing. 2014;8(suppl 1):S42-S63.

Author Affiliations

1Population Services International, Washington, DC.
2Population Services International, Myanmar.
3Population Services International, Viet Nam.


Background: Condom social marketing has been critical to sexual health programs in the developing world. The discipline has matured and social marketers are now applying a total market approach (TMA) to fill market gaps, satisfy unmet need, and increase commercial sector engagement. This paper presents case studies from Myanmar (PSI/M) and Viet Nam (PSI/V), examines the effectiveness and efficiency of their condom markets for reaching key populations at risk for HIV, and presents actions taken to strengthen the commercial sector.

Methods: Access figures came from retail audits, routine data, and UNAIDS. Condom use data were from behavioral surveys. Data for SES profiles were from behavioral surveys and a national survey.

Results: The Myanmar market was relatively effective, but not efficient. Condom access and use improved, but wealthier populations benefited from subsidized condoms. To strengthen the commercial sector, PSI/M helped the public sector decrease the number of free condoms sold on the market, endorsed two commercial brands, and improved pricing. Commercial market share improved and PSI/M adopted a cost-recovery strategy. In Viet Nam, efforts focused on hotels/guesthouses and improved targeting for subsidized condoms. PSI/V also integrated a commercial brand into targeted hotel/guesthouse distribution and promoted it to populations with ability to pay. More hotels/guesthouses stocked condoms and decreased their reliance on subsidized commodities.

Conclusions: Social marketers can increase health impact by strengthening commercial sector contributions to public health priorities. Examples from Myanmar and Viet Nam demonstrate how such actions can transform a market and engage private sector players to improve health outcomes. (Full-text PDF)


  • Social marketing
  • Condoms
  • HIV
  • Program sustainability
  • Commercial sector
  • Myanmar
  • Vietnam

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Copyright © 2014 by the Cases in Public Health Communication & Marketing journal.

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