Recent years have seen increased attention and concern regarding the potential for pandemic influenza, following large-scale outbreaks of swine flu and bird flu. Governments and health agencies have time to develop social marketing strategies and specific messages that have the potential to minimize fear, refute or inoculate against misinformation that the public may encounter, and enhance the likelihood of the public taking the recommended preventive and remedial actions should these become necessary. This paper presents an overview of how social marketing can be used to tackle the global challenge of pandemic influenza. The potential pandemic influenza poses a major challenge for social marketers (along with governments, health services, and businesses). There are a number of critical factors about a potential pandemic influenza that make it fundamentally different to the majority of issues to which social marketing has previously been applied. The underlying principles of social marketing are equally applicable to a global infectious disease outbreak (such as pandemic influenza). Even if the current strains do not become pandemic, social marketers should use this impetus to develop the skills and resources to address future communicable disease outbreaks. This paper applies the concepts of social marketing to a unique health issue which has the potential to become one of the largest global public health crises in history, but which can be tackled with effective global social marketing.