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NES3110 : Marketing and Public Policy

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sharron Kuznesof
  • Lecturer: Professor Lynn Frewer, Dr Diogo Monjardino De Souza Monteiro
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


Public policy is a field of politics and governance aiming to understand how to rule. It has been defined as “a strategic action led by a public authority in order to limit or increase the presence of certain phenomena within the population” (National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP), 2012). There are several views on what is and is not public policy. It is beyond the scope of this module to debate on what is policy. Rather, after a brief discussion of what is public policy, this module will focus on the opportunities and limitations of using the marketing framework as a policy instrument. In other words, we aim to introduce marketing as way to define strategies to achieve policy outcomes. For example, smoke cessation could be viewed as meriting public policy interventions. Note however, that marketing is mainly a business tool to encourage consumers to purchase products or services they need. So, marketing can be also an object of policy, for example by restricting opening hours of supermarkets to support small shops or forbidding promoting alcohol consumption to children. How can we define a policy based on the marketing framework to address smoke cessation? We could conceive a strategy that would include Pricing (through taxation); Distribution (restricting places where tobacco is sold); Product (limiting the amount of nicotine allowed or banning sales to under 20 year olds); Communications (public information campaigns, social media, campaigns, advertising restrictions) etc. Typically the desired outcome of a strategic action or mechanism is a change in the behaviour of consumers and/or businesses.

In general, sound policy making requires an evidence base approach upon which policies are founded, prioritised and evaluated. Marketing can contribute evidence in all these areas, including the identification of 'unintended consequences'. Marketing therefore has much to contribute to contemporary issues of public interest. However, marketing practices are also criticised for contributing to over-consumption and unethical practices.
Clearly public policy is a complex issue and can be examined (and taught) from different angles and perspectives. The aim of this class is to raise your awareness of how public policy is formulated and implemented as well as what is the role of marketing in public policy. In this class you will be taught by case study or policy issue. So, the instructors will proposed a policy topic (typically one they have or are researching), suggest readings and encourage you learn by doing. We will discuss different policy instruments and examine some concrete examples of public policies and discuss their implications for stakeholders.
The module will be issue based and research-led, by drawing upon both contemporary marketing-related public policy issues and research undertaken by the Social Sciences Group in the School of Natural and Environmental Scientists, where much research is food industry based.

Outline Of Syllabus

Here is a list of topics that will be covered in this class. Note that these may change from year to year:
• Introduction: marketing and public policy
• Social Marketing and corporate responsibility
• Public policies: the Government perspective.
• Policy evaluation methods
• Sustainable consumption
• Theories of behaviour change
• Obesity and nutrition labelling
• Privacy and transparency
• Authenticity and Fraud
• Waste and recycling
• Debate on current public policy topic
• Transport and road safety

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00To introduce the module materials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Individual Report
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading42:3010:00Preparation for seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:00Seminar discussion based on class topics or case studies (SO) max 25 students
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Drop session to give feedback to students on their proposals. Max: 10 students per session
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study114:0044:00Reading for lectures
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Formal lectures, online seminars and in-class discussion will assist the students in achieving the stated learning outcomes. There will be opportunities for students to pose questions, debate, and critically discuss issues during class sessions. A variety of materials will be posted on the University Virtual Learning System, including most key readings and supplementary sources.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M100Individual Report
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The report enables students to demonstrate their knowledge in a real world example. It allows a more in-depth test of the students ability to critically engage with materials, synthesise information and develop a coherent argument on what would be a suitable social marketing solution to a specific public policy problem.

Reading Lists