ISSN 0798 1015


Vol. 39 (Nº 01) Year 2018. Page 17

Social Advertising: A Russian Perspective

Publicidad social desde una perspectiva rusa

Elena G. POPKOVA 1; Tatiana LITVINOVA 2; Maria А. MITINA 3; Jeff FRENCH 4

Received: 28/08/2017 • Approved: 28/09/2017


1. Introduction

2. Theoretical background

3. Adopted methodology

4. Conclusions and recommendations

5. Limitations and avenues for future research



The lack of clearly defined legislative norms which seek to inform and where necessary control relations between state and organisations who use social advertising can create barriers to developing and implementing coordinated and systemic state informational policy in relation to the use of social advertising. Inadequate and sporadic funding of social advertising can also have a big impact on the effectiveness of social advertising in the Russian context. Due to these factors state sponsored social advertising often has a disordered and local character, which can also reduce its effectiveness. In most countries, the most important funder of the social advertising market, is the state. Business however increasingly also use social advertising actively to create and build a positive image of their brand as a socially responsible business and to attract attention to their commercial focused activities. A significant role in the social advertising market is also played by not for profit organizations, charity funds, etc. This article explores the functions, roles, and peculiarities of the motivations of various social institutes in the participation and regulation of the social advertising market in a Russia context. The article explores from an historic perspective how and why social advertising has come to be a common tool used by many governments and how countries such as Russia with less history of applying advertising in general can and should seek to apply and regulate social advertising.
Keywords: Social advertising, public service announcement, social marketing, market for social advertising; market regulation; market self-regulation; market institute; social responsibility.


La falta de normas legislativas claramente definidas que pretenden informar y, cuando sea necesario, controlar las relaciones entre el estado y las organizaciones que utilizan la publicidad social puede crear obstáculos para desarrollar e implementar una política informativa estatal coordinada y sistémica en relación con el uso de la publicidad social. La financiación inadecuada y esporádica de la publicidad social también puede tener un gran impacto en la efectividad de la publicidad social en el contexto ruso. Debido a estos factores, la publicidad social patrocinada por el estado a menudo tiene un carácter desordenado y local, que también puede reducir su efectividad. En la mayoría de los países, el financiador más importante del mercado publicitario social es el estado. Sin embargo, los negocios también utilizan cada vez más la publicidad social de manera activa para crear y construir una imagen positiva de su marca como un negocio socialmente responsable y para atraer la atención a sus actividades comerciales. Un papel importante en el mercado de la publicidad social también lo juegan organizaciones sin fines de lucro, fondos de caridad, etc. Este artículo explora las funciones, roles y peculiaridades de las motivaciones de varios institutos sociales en la participación y regulación del mercado de la publicidad social en un contexto de Rusia. El artículo explora desde una perspectiva histórica cómo y por qué la publicidad social se ha convertido en una herramienta común utilizada por muchos gobiernos y cómo países como Rusia con menos historia de la aplicación de publicidad en general pueden y deben buscar aplicar y regular la publicidad social.
Palabras clave: Publicidad social, anuncio de servicio público, mercadeo social, mercado de publicidad social; regulación del mercado; autorregulación del mercado; instituto de mercado; responsabilidad social.

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1. Introduction

Many public issues and problems related to a wide range of interests groups and topics are the focus of social advertising. Social advertising is used with the intention of influencing attitudes, beliefs and behavior.  Social advertising just like other forms of advertising is an inter-disciplinary field of study and application  and could be viewed as a sub field within a broader class of advertising theory and practice (GordonGurrieri, 2014). Whist there is a great deal of academic research focused on developed world and western countries use of social advertising there is much less theoretical understanding and research in countries such as Russia that come from and operate in a different social, historic and economic context.  There is a currently a deficit in the understanding of how social advertising is used and regulated in countries other than the western developed world. The study of what can be called the social advertising market is worthy of more research as interest and investment in social advertising, and the range of its focus and reach grows internationally. An important aspect of the social advertising market is its regulation which is the focus of the research reported in this paper.

2. Theoretical background

Many of the key values and behaviors that people think are important such as sympathy, benevolence and politeness are not able to be promoted via direct selling. They become real and tangible only if they turn into common norms of behavior which are popular and generally accepted. Social norms such as care for the environment or norms of proper behavior at work and at home. There many such norms which enable citizens to both experience and add to the positive general experience in society . The level of the acceptance of such positive social norms in any society regardless of its level of economic development has a very important role in influencing its internal social climate of that country (Russell-Bennett et al., 2013).

One way of seeking to encourage the take up of positive social attitudes and behaviors and to seek to address negative views and behaviors is through the use of planned and sustained social advertising.  Social advertising  has been used for many years around the world by governments and agencies to promote beliefs attitudes and behaviors that result in positive outcomes for both individuals and wider society.

Social advertising it has been argued is in fact as old as human civilization for throughout human history people with power and influence have sought to influence others (French 2014), and to create social norms.

It should be noted then that the theory and practice of “social advertising” is in the developed world a long-established part of the efforts by governments NGO’s and others to promote positive social values and behaviours. In the article “Good ideas are advertised in America” (Astakhova, 2015), who is one of the first Russian researchers of social advertising, states;

“The very word combination “social advertising” is purely American, and Americans also use the terms “public service advertising” and “public service announcement” (PSA) for such type of advertising” (Bryant et al., 2014). 

The concept of a PSA implies that the subjects and tone of such social adverts are accepted as being a good thing by a majority of people and are considered to be part of a reasonable process of trying to make a positive contribution to social values and behaviour. Social advertising is often aimed at issues that impact on wide sections of society. Issues such as; the prevention of violence, environmental protection, children’s health, drug misuse and AIDS. The goal of PSA is to change the attitudes of targeted public groups to the problem using information, and in long term to create new social values, norms and behaviours. (Social advertising, 2015).

PSA is in many ways similar to non-profit, public, and state advertising. It tries to change human’s behavior and, correspondingly, to influence public ideology. For example, the mobilization of a population for civil defense or collecting donations during military actions can also use announcements via posters radio and TV and so can be thought of as social and political advertising. For example, a range of articles on the labor contribution of women in hospitals during World War I, were published in the journal “Women’s World”, this type of approach belongs to social PR and social journalism. Social advertising can then be divided into 4 types: non-profit, public, state, and social advertising.

Non-profit advertising is sponsored by non-profit institutes or by donations. It aims to promote clear messages to a large audience. Its tasks are to influencing human knowledge, conscience and behavior, the object being to promote a non-profit objective or tangible product such as the uptake of vaccination, stopping smoking or driving safely.

Public advertising is used to popularize what are considered by the state to be positive public values, or behaviors. Its first job is to attract attention to the need for specific social behaviours of what can be called ‘intangible social products’. Such an ‘intangible social product’ do not usually involve direct financial costs or the generation of profit for any party (Jacobi et al., 2015).

State advertising is usually used by a wide range agencies’, government departments and organisations such a traffic police, tax bodies, police, healthcare facilities, etc. The social advertising they commission reflects their major concerns and challenges and services, related to activities which they conduct.

In order to avoid possible confusion or ambiguity in meaning it is important that the subtidal but distinct differences between “social”, “public”, “state” or “non-commercial” advertising  are clarified and their contribution to the broader category of social advertising is recognised. It should also be recognised if we seek to maximise the impact of social advertising and assess its impact that each of these subsets of social advertising is recognised as having different objectives, and drivers and therefore need to be developed delivered and evaluated in distinct ways.

2.1. Tasks and functions of social advertising

Social advertising aims to attract attention and assert influence on many of the key social challenges faced by countries around the world. Its objectives include the improvement of the life experience of individual citizens but also the promotion of social responsibility, and the development of what can be called moral values. In this respect the mission of social advertising can be considered as being focused on the long-term modeling of public behavior which results in an increase in the level of both the moral and social outlook of citizens and their actual behavior.

The goals of social advertising can be summarized as:

attraction of attention to  social  topic, issues, and problems

transmitting knowledge and understanding about social challenges

modeling and influencing public opinion attitudes and beliefs,

modeling and influencing social relations

modeling and influencing social behavior

promoting actions for solving social challenges

promoting positive  social values

strengthening trust in socially important public institutes

By definition the functions of social advertising are directly related to advertising but they are also connected to and influenced by other issues such as economics , social relations, other forms of social communication, and marketing[42].  For example any type of advertising has the potential to influence and be influenced by economics, regardless of the goal that was set in the process of its creation. Social advertising, in its turn, plays a very important role in development and promotion of ideas and social movements that can have direct impacts on the wider macro economy. For example a social advertising programme that encourages low energy forms of transport to reduce global warming may have an impact on the number of bicycles that are purchased.Social advertising also helps to implement, fix, and remind citizens of the necessary values and behavioral norms in any society and in so doing it exerts an , influencing role on society as whole by either reinforcing existing social norms or by seeking to introduce new social norms (Li, 2014).

Social advertising also effects and is affected by other forms of social communication. Social advertising informs large numbers of people about certain facts, events, or topics these are then disseminated and reinterpreted through a broad range of other communication channels and mediums. In our digital networked world there is a blurring of producer and consumer of information and comment. In this consumer / producer environment social advertising content and reach can be multiplied via online communication but it can also be distorted and attacked by online communities.

Social marketing also interacts with social advertising in the promotion of values, norms and behavior. For example a social advertising campaign aimed at reducing smoking might be supported by a wider social marketing programme that includes the distribution of products such as nicotine replacement therapy’s and promotes the uptake of counselling services for those who want to give up smoking.

Social advertising can directly influence and be influenced by human interactions and relationships. For example, in the sphere of promoting social responsibility social advertising can be used to promote tolerance, and general social development. Promoting positive social behaviour via social advertising also has a spin off effect of promoting more effective economic development and living standards. For example a social advertising programme that promotes less alcohol abuse has a benefit on health but also on the economic efficiency of a community, (FrenchRussell-Bennett, 2015).

The tangible ‘product’ of social advertising, e.g. how it is delivered rather than the ‘intangible product’ benefit of it can be realized in many possible forms including:

Posters, leaflets





Online advertising

Community promotions


Main providers and sponsors of social advertising are public organizations (including charities), state departments and organisations, and representatives of the sphere of business and entrepreneurship who are interested in promoting social issues or causes. For charitable organizations, and public organizations, social advertising is one of means of realization of their organizational goals and objectives, related to social changes, and the promotion of certain public values. Charitable organizations and NGOs also use social advertising to encourage donations to the charity.

2.2. Social advertising as a tool of social policy

State organizations use social advertising to create positive connections between the states objectives and the objectives of wider society. States also use social advertising and to inform citizens  about urgent issues and topics, to influence beliefs understanding and behavior. For these reasons social advertising, which is conducted with the state’s support, is often impossible to differentiate from  political policy implementation. As discussed previously in this paper commercial companies also use social advertising as a means of demonstrating social responsibility and as a way of creating positive PR connected to their business (Bakar et al., 2014). Through running social advertising programmes the commercial sector organisations are also reinforcing state supported social policy.

Despite the obvious attractions as a part of social policy implementation social advertising  has a significant  drawback related to the fact that it is difficult to fully assess it’s  effectiveness for specific citizens. It is difficult, both qualitatively and quantitatively to track changes in the behavior of targeted audience that might take place after seeing social advertising that can be exclusively attributed to it. It could be concluded that in many cases at present, social advertising is limited to an approach that is focused on developing and implementing creative experiments, and attractive advertising aimed at attracting maximal attention to social problem rather than being a primary agent for actual social change.

2.3. History of formation and development of social advertising

Social advertising has long existed alongside state policy and political advertising. It began to be used when authorities and states realized the necessity for communication with citizens, in order to obtain citizens willingness to act in certain prescribed ways to promote social good. This included health advice, calls to grow food in times of war, to enlist in the army and to adopt a range of safety measures. Authorities have long deemed it necessary to influence behavior of their citizens in this way (History of social advertising, 2015).

Nevertheless, it is considered that the history of social advertising began in early twentieth century in America, when in1886 the public organization “American civil association” created the first social advertising, which aimed at protection of the Niagara Falls from damage done by activities of energy companies. The Association began purchasing advertising columns on magazines, in order to bring citizens’ attention to the problem of nature protection (Lyaporov, 2015).

During World War I, in 1917, recruiting poster “U.S. army needs you” by J.M. Flegg was very popular in America. In this poster, Uncle Sam (human image of the USA, depicted as an old man with subtle face features, old-fashioned beard, cylinder of the colors of American flag, navy dress coat, and striped pantsх (Uncle Sam, 2015)) called for volunteers to join the army.


Its very idea and composition are similar to the English poster of the same topic “Your country needs you” and the Soviet poster “Have you volunteered already?”, which was popular in 1920’s [28].

The president of the USA, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, on April 14, 1917 – i.e., only a week after America entered World War I – ordered the creation of a committee on public information. It was overseen by the Secretary of the State, Defense and Navy Ministers, and famous journalist J. Creel, who became a representative of the “Ministry of military propaganda”. This body was awarded a special fund of $7 million for propaganda purposes, a huge sum at the time.

The Committee began full-scale agitation and propaganda work, waging informational war against the enemy, supporting all military actions of the allies, and strengthening the moral spirit of the soldiers. The Committee issued an annual government paper with a circulation of 100,000. It also sent propaganda materials to 16,000 papers and magazines. Propaganda films were shown in 17,000 cinemas using 110,000 short films known as “four-minute speakers”.

The Committee on public information worked with American citizens to provide clear and patriotic explanation of the causes, of the First World War and its course. After the war president Eisenhower (1953–1961) noted that each dollar spend on propaganda about the story of American successes was worth five dollars spend for weapons (Astakhova, 2015).

In 1942, during World War II, the Advertising Committee was again formed in America. As before, it contributed greatly to the task of mobilizing the USA.  It increased sales of military bonds, encouraged enlistment, promoted war work and raised the morale of the American people.  After the war, in 1950-60’s, the Council expanded the sphere of its activities and took responsibility for coordination of all social advertising.

Apart from working under difficult military conditions, for example, military conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, it began paying public attention to other important social problems including safety on roads, and the prevention of forest fires. The Smokey Bear campaign, that is still running became popular and well recognized as an effective advertising campaigns. Smokey Bear was depicted as anthropomorphic bear and became a talisman of the forest service of the USA – it was created for informing public about the danger of wood fires (Nikolaishvili, 2015). The Advertising Council also brought public attention to the problem of illiteracy, family violence, and other social topics. Many government and public organizations (organizations of Air Force, navy, government bureau and other departments, the Ministry of Communications, the Ministry of Healthcare, immigration services, post, etc.) joined  efforts to solve such problems (Luna-NevarezTorres, 2015).

During the 40’s Social advertising in America also began to be used by various non-profit institutes: churches, schools, hospitals, universities, charity organizations, and various associations. Thus, the motto “It’s a matter of death and life” of the American lung association became a well-known slogan. The association held annual social advertising campaigns with the budget of around $10 million, focused on informing society about the harm of smoking and lung disease.

In 1987, the USA saw the start of active work on development and conduct of the most popular and costly social campaigns: focused on drunk driving and on AIDS (Morosan, 2015). It should be noted that the US government cannot dictate to what is now called ‘The Add Council’ which topics are to be covered. The government is just a sponsor like many others. The Add Council makes its own decisions about which programs to run and how sponsorship from both government, corporations and charitable foundations should be spend , (Kobersy et al., 2015).

The growing influence of social advertising became so large that many corporations also became interested in its possibilities and began to conduct their own social advertising campaigns independently of government. For example, a social advertising campaign aimed at the prevention of breast cancer, was developed by the cosmetics company Avon. This campaign was very popular in America and was later spread to the whole world (Živoder et al., 2015).

3. Adopted methodology

3.1. Technique of institutional analysis of social advertising market

State rules and regulations in many countries play an important role in the selection of which social advertising activities will or can be supported. There are a range of problems associated with the selection of social advertising within countries. A first issue that needs to be agreed is what resources can be committed and over what time span. However in addition to resources there are other  key challenge  that need to be addressed. Identifying, anticipating and managing potential conflicts of interests amongst the various actors who have a stake in the issue that will be the subject of the social advertising is a key set of tasks that needs to be undertaken. A second problem includes the best possible distribution of available resources and weight of effort between interested groups (Gregory-Smith et al., 2015). A third type of problems is associated with conflicts related to basic elements of institutional systems. Such as conflicts between citizens’ rights and institutional rules. Within what could be called the social advertising market, several mechanisms exist that impact on the selection of social advertising (Valos et al., 2015):

Domination of socio-economic effectiveness as a key focus for social advertising

Limitations of use of purely market procedures and mechanisms for achievement of necessary effectiveness of markets

Existence of a set of norms and rules which can regulate technical and moral aspects of social advertising

Availability of procedures for solving conflict situations

Regulation of relationships between the state and advertisers on the basis of civil law norms

Stability of conditions of provision of rights for realization of social advertising.

3.2. Analysis of factors that motivate social institutes to use social advertising market

At present commissioners of social advertising are mainly public organizations including charities, state establishments, and representatives of business. The state is normally the most important player financially and in terms of influence on the field of social advertising. Sates such as Russia have taken responsibility for taking care of citizens’ well-being and, consequently, distributing information and support to help citizen behave in socially and economically advantageous ways for the state and for individual citizens. Governments normally set laws and rules which regulate social advertising from the moment of its creation to promotion into society.

Social advertising can help in creation and formation of a more positive image of the state, and to set out its position and attitude towards specific problems. It can also help in informing citizens about the measures taken and by the state to solve problems and issues of concern. Citizens want to know what the state is doing to solve social, moral & spiritual problems. In this sense one of the main goals of social advertising is the promotion and protection of confidence in what the state is doing (Kang et al., 2014).

At present, within Russia social advertising by state institutes occupies a significant position in total volume of social advertising. Ministries and departments actively use this it for presenting and informing on the course of the programmes they conduct. Social advertising is used by many ministries and departments including; traffic police, the ministry of healthcare, education, and social policy, internal offices, army, etc. In particular, in Russia the traffic police are one of the most active commissioners  of social advertising. The topic of road safety was one of the first ones to ever appear in advertising messages [28].

There is obvious motivation for advertising agencies to undertake low-budget or even free social project work. According to I. Kaukin, manager of the project “Do you care?!” and member of the ACAR agency on social responsibility of business, “Commercial client limits creativity a lot. On the contrary, social advertising needs something non-standard, something brave. Agencies want interesting projects to appear in their portfolios – for example, to win in competitions. It increases their rankings and attracts new clients. Professionals understand that.” (Zavrilova, 2013).

The approach to social advertising within business takes place according to the tendency of commercialization of social advertising itself and the acknowledgement of the fact that it can make a contribution to the profit bottom line. (PinhoSoares, 2015): The benefits to business of supporting and delivering social advertising include:

Promoting company popularity, PR, growth of image and reputation of company at local and national levels

Promoting the company name’s association with sponsor activities or prestigious charity events

The demonstration of proximity and openness to other non-profit organizations and power structures

The demonstration of company’s social responsibility

Developing a positive image of company in the eyes of employees, its clients and partners, which further on is used for their attraction, bringing them together, and increasing their loyalty in the company (“I want to work there, this company thinks about consequences of business”, “these people think not only about money”)

Social advertising is also attractive to corporations because being see by citizens as a socially responsible company is a necessary condition for corporate existence and development, this is especially true for large corporations.

А. Feldman, manager of social sector of PR-Line agency, says, “The main task is to inform the public that the company is a good member of society and contributes into region’s well-being. We care about social problems and we do want to speak about that – we do not just earn money” (Feldman, 2017). A further bonus of social advertising for corporations lies not only in direct profits. Social advertising can also help with preventing criticisms of commercial companies and governments before they start. Investing in social advertising is a way to reduce or eliminate criticisms from citizens and customers abut both in action and inappropriate action on the part of companies and governments.  For example tobacco companies have in the past created ads against smoking among teenagers in a bid to deflect criticism. Another example is the large-scale social advertising project run in Russia called; “Smoking? No time for that”. This programme was financed by the largest tobacco companies British-American Tobacco, Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco International, Reynolds and Reemtsma.

Poster “Smoking? No time for that!”

Charity and non-profit organizations depend on public support, so it is important for them to constantly inform people of their activities and results. Social advertising helps them to collect funding for their programs, attract volunteers, and, attract public attention to their problem (Herrewijn, L.Poels, K. (2014).

Social advertising solves the following tasks for non-profit organizations:

The focus of social advertising in the non-profit sector can be divided into the following criteria: (Nifaeva, 2012):

3.3. How to improve the impact of social advertising in Russia

Taking into account positive foreign and domestic experience of formation and use of social advertising it is possible to put forward some suggestions to increase of its effectiveness in the developing world and Russian context.

It is possible to distinguish two main approaches to social advertising in global practice. The first approach supposes a union of state, advertising agencies, and mass media which make joint decisions which topics and issues should be the focus of social advertising.

Social advertising focused on promotion of self-regulation including the development of positive social norms, adherence to positive social rules, and imitating anti-social and poor personal behaviour such as excessive alcohol consumption could be applied in Russia.  There are already programmes in these fields in Russia but they are delivered in an uncoordinated and unstained way. One of the key ways to make such efforts more professional and sustainable would be by engaging with corporations to help support and promote these campaigns, (Ivanov, 2013).

A second approach requires a more s active role for the state. By the establishing an authorized and specially created body to consider proposals from ministries and departments and to develop topics for action based on their own research and that of ministers Russia could develop its expertise and evidence about how best to apply social advertising to support state policy objectives. Such a new specialist agency could also act to coordinate efforts, reduce duplication and build an evidence base about what approaches s work best. This approach can be realized better under the Russian context, where the state’s support has a very strong influence and authority in setting the tone and being the largest advertiser, customer, and coordinator of efforts in the sphere of social advertising.

 It should be noted that with such an approach to regulation, selected topics for social advertising should not be selected spontaneously or randomly. The selection of priorities for action should be a part of state social policy, be set at the legislative level, and be a coordinated part of r a systemic approach to the state’s solving socio-economic problems.In Russia the development of social advertising is impossible without coordinated and active cooperation of state and society through such an authorized body which should include representatives of public authorities, society, advertising industry, business, and non-profit organizations. A number of functions could be delivered by such a national agency in Russia:

An optimal variant of this approach would be the development of separate federal targeted programs devoted to social advertising with specification of goals and terms of performance and order of realization, performers, and financing issues (SpearsAmos, 2014).

It would also be necessary to develop mechanisms of feedback and public control over spending of allocated, issued for social advertising. Such approach, which would combine effective domestic and foreign experience of self-regulation and public control which would be more effective than existing one-sided control from the state.

One issue that would require special attention would be the evaluation of the effectiveness and spending for social advertising. It would be necessary to develop a set standard methodologies and introduce the practice of conducting monitoring of effectiveness of social advertising campaigns. This would allow:

In Russia, the number of charities and non-profit organizations which are involved with realization of socially important projects and social advertising is growing annually. It is therefore necessary to support their activities and stimulate these socially responsible members of the social advertising market. It would also be advisable to attract independent experts and agencies to prepare rankings of TV-channels, radio stations, press, and external advertising operators. It would also be advisable to assess the quantity and topics of social advertising. To achieve the maximal effect of social advertising, it would also be necessary to use all available means of distribution of information, including the Internet, social networks, mobile communications, forums, and blogs. Similarly, festival movement could  become an effective means of teaching and increase of qualification of specialists of advertising industry.

The production of social advertising in Russia is still far from perfect, and there are many problems in various spheres of this activity. Financing of social projects is ineffective, and there is no significant tax or financial support for non-profit organizations and business in the sphere of social advertising. Conflict of commercial interests and sometimes corrupt practices by officials, the mass media, and business prevent development of effective and efficient social advertising [29].

Another significant challenge is the low level of professional experience of creators of social advertising, this can lead to low-quality advertising products and distribution approaches. Often “shocking” domestic social advertising that is developed for the express purpose of just spending budgets or for PR rather than serious attempts to impact on people’s beliefs and behaviour.  As a rule, there’s no specific vision of final result which will result in improved social wellbeing. There have also been cases in Russia when multimillion orders for production of social advertising on driving regulations ended with ban for their use on TV due to incorrect content, (Buzin & Buzina, 2007). There have also been scandals with external advertising against smoking, which depicted a child and a cigarette which was put out on him – from the social project “Do you care?”. Unfortunately, this image influenced negatively the image of social advertising in society, and caused a wave of discussion regarding tough censorship and state regulation of advertising, and violated a range of ethical and legal norms (Taylor, 2015).

Much social advertising in Russia also has key weaknesses due to poor research and a lack of social advertising expertise:

At the same time, Russian business already realized importance and profitability of social responsibility and it is striving for participation in social activities. In their turn, non-profit organizations possess necessary knowledge and experience of solving social problems, and the state is capable of combining efforts and possibilities of all sides.

4. Conclusions and recommendations

Well-crafted and targeted social advertising supports the promotion and adoption of positive social values, the fortification of high social standards, and the strengthening traditions and positive behavioral norms. Social advertising can also illustrate positive human potential and as such is part of the promotion of humanism, social responsibility, and general social development, if applied in the right way. Social advertising can also make a valuable contribution to increasing the living standards and live life experience of citizens, influencing the lives of individuals and society as a whole. At present, the main customers of social advertising are public organizations charities, state establishments, and representatives of some business and entrepreneurship.

The main conclusion reached in this paper on the process of regulation of the social advertising markets is that not all countries possess a clear set of laws on social advertising and mechanisms to review and control its quality. The  presence or absence of such laws and mechanisms however does not appear to significantly  influence the effectiveness of  campaigns delivered, as there are positive examples in both regulated and non-regulated countries. This fact raises the need for self-regulation of social advertising markets and for equal status in the market for all players but also the need to deal with market failures including poor practice and corrupted officials. The implementation of systems of self-regulation could stimulate  an increase of social responsibility of business, effective use of socially directed advertising, and financing of social advertising in exchange for subsidies from state (Young et al., 2014).

Lack of clearly set legislative norms and agencies charged with coordination of social advertising in Russia are underdeveloped. Due to this social advertising in Russia always has unordered and local character, which influences its effectiveness and efficiency.

Social advertising is not a panacea or a mechanism for shifting responsibility to solve major social problems  to citizens. It should be rather being part of a coordinate’s state, charity and for profit sector strategyy and a long-term system of support strategy to tackle social problems. Social advertising can be an effective means of communication, and a connecting link between various sectors of society. It can help to signal the need for action on problems in society and be part of the mechanism to solve those problems.

5. Limitations and avenues for future research

Limitation of this research is its focus at general perspectives of regulation of social advertising market. Nevertheless, markets of various countries have their own unique features, study of which goes beyond the limits of the conducted research. Therefore, a perspective direction of further research could be focused on the development of mechanisms of regulation of social advertising market for specific economic systems in view of their specifics and needs.


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1. Volgograd State Technical University, Volgograd, Russia. E-mail:

2. Volgograd State Agrarian University, Volgograd, Russia

3. Volgograd State Technical University, Volgograd, Russia

4. Chief Executive of Strategic Social Marketing Ltd

Revista ESPACIOS. ISSN 0798 1015
Vol. 39 (Nº 01) Year 2018


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