Marketing Gender Norms: A Social Media Experiment in India

55 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2022 Last revised: 8 Nov 2023

See all articles by Dante Donati

Dante Donati

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Marketing

Victor Orozco-Olvera

World Bank

Nandan Rao

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Date Written: October 4, 2022


We conducted a field experiment on Facebook Messenger to evaluate the effectiveness of two social marketing video series at reshaping gender norms and reducing social acceptability of violence against women in India. To test different formats, we randomly invited participants to watch either a humorous fictitious drama (implicit format) or a documentary with clear calls to action (explicit format), or a placebo series (control). Our results show that the fictitious drama was more successful in facilitating attitudinal change, reducing the acceptability of regressive gender norms and violence against women by respectively 0.20 and 0.17 standard deviations. In contrast, the documentary was more effective in encouraging behavioral change, influencing the willingness to share the videos and promoting information-seeking behaviors. Moreover, in the medium term, documentary viewers were 91% more likely to add a frame anti-violence against women to their Facebook profile picture, a public commitment to social action. The absence of heterogeneous effects across socioeconomic indicators suggests that social media could be a viable platform for conveying social marketing campaigns to marginalized communities.

Keywords: Edutainment, Gender norms, RCT, Social media, Violence against women

JEL Classification: C93, D90, J16, L82

Suggested Citation

Donati, Dante and Orozco-Olvera, Victor H. and Rao, Nandan Mark, Marketing Gender Norms: A Social Media Experiment in India (October 4, 2022). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 4158065, Available at SSRN: or

Dante Donati (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

Victor H. Orozco-Olvera

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Nandan Mark Rao

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona ( email )


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