Reality television (Supernanny): a social marketing "place" strategy

Document Type

Journal Article


Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure / Centre for Applied Social Marketing Research


Ganeshasundaram, R., & Henley, N. (2009). Reality television (Supernanny): a social marketing “place” strategy. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 26(5), 311-319. Available here


Purpose – The purpose of this article is to investigate the effectiveness of the Supernanny reality television programs in teaching parenting techniques and changing parenting behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach – A telephone survey was conducted with a random sample of 400 respondents who had watched at least one episode of the Supernanny program.

Findings – Almost 75 percent of the respondents had viewed the program regularly for interest and/or for educational reasons; significantly more people who said they watched for education could recollect parenting techniques than those who said they watched for entertainment. Respondents agreed that the program informed them about different techniques for managing the behaviors of their children (88 percent) and said they had used (53

percent) or intended to use (23 percent) a number of those techniques. A total of 80 percent of the respondents saw the show as realistic and 93 percent of the viewers perceived the program as useful to some extent in terms of changing their behaviors and their children’s behaviors in positive ways. There were some significant differences, with greater effects in women, younger respondents, and parents of younger children.

Practical implications – Reality television can be used as an effective social marketing, mass media “place” strategy to convey positive parenting techniques and to promote positive behavior change.

Originality/value – Edutainment (combining entertainment with education) has been used to promote positive social behaviors for some years but the use of the specific entertainment vehicle “reality television” has not previously been examined as a social marketing place strategy.





Link to publisher version (DOI)