Vulnerable consumers and debt: Can social marketing assist?

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Brennan, Linda, Zevallos, Zuleyka and Binney, Wayne (2011) Vulnerable consumers and debt: Can social marketing assist? Australasian Marketing Journal, 19 (3). pp. 203-211. ISSN 1441-3582


Our climate of mass consumption, as well as the aggressive marketing techniques targeting vulnerable consumers, both entrench the false belief that ‘‘you’ve got to go into debt to get anywhere’’. Money may well be the last social taboo: people find it difficult to earnestly talk about, and objectively assess, their financial situation, especially when they are borrowing more than they are earning. This unwillingness to communicate openly about debt makes it difficult to address the issue with public education strategies. Extreme debt practices signify a revolving door to poverty because some people, like the welfare participants in this study, do not recognise they are in debt. Without identifying themselves as having a debt problem, vulnerable consumers will not seek an effective solution to help get themselves out of debt. The majority of the participants in this study did not seek financial counselling because they had not yet become bankrupt. Currently, Australian income support recipients are paying a high price for their lack of knowledge about debt management. They see themselves as ‘‘a small person in a big pond’’, living in a society where debt is simply ‘‘a way of life’’ that they should, for better and worse, simply accept.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1016/j.ausmj.2011.05.007
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1505 Marketing
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Management and Information Systems
Keywords ResPubID24940, vulnerable consumers, consumer credit, debt management, social marketing
Citations in Scopus 17 - View on Scopus
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