Are the People Listening to Government's Good Advice: Source Credibility in Government Attributed Social Marketing Messages
During 2008, the New Zealand government conducted over 53 separate social marketing programmes aimed at improving the lifestyle and behaviours of the New Zealand people. This situation has provided a niche environment to study the impact of high-volume government-attributed social marketing advertising on the source credibility of the government (where the government is the main source and sponsor of social marketing). The research data was collected through fourteen semi-structured in-depth interviews with four social marketers and ten members of the public. This study further sought to identify alternative sources of social marketing messages considered more effective than government, and as a logical part of this study, the repetition effect of various similar messages from one source, the New Zealand Government, in a social marketing context was examined. This research has showed that the high-volume of social marketing messages has homogenised the source thoughts of the interviewed members of the public. It has led them to assume all social marketing is from government. Further, the high-volume has caused the target audience to abbreviate the cognitive response process illustrated by the Model of Cognitive Response compiled by Belch & Belch (2007). Where their attitude towards the messages was favourable or it conformed to their beliefs, the target audience placed less priority on the importance of the source's credibility. This research compares and contrasts the social marketing data to well-accepted commercial marketing theory and principles, and attempts to provide a social marketing context to these theories.