Purpose: Social marketing has been widely used to effectively and voluntarily change behaviours worldwide. The social marketing benchmark criteria offer a framework to apply this approach. This paper aims to examine the extent of use and predictors of success of social marketing benchmark criteria in changing the health behaviours of Pacific Islands populations. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic review of studies designed to change health behaviours among Pacific Islands populations. Studies were assessed against the social marketing benchmark criteria to determine the extent to which the reported intervention used a social marketing approach; and whether the use of the social marketing benchmark criteria led to more effective interventions. Findings: In total, 22 studies were included. In total, 13 were conducted within the Pacific Islands and 9 were aimed at Pacific Islands populations living in America, New Zealand or Hawaii. The most common criteria used were behaviour change, insight and customer orientation. Theory criterion was least commonly used. There was no clear indication of which criterion or combination of criteria, resulted in more effective interventions. Research limitations/implications: Further empirical evaluations of social marketing interventions within the Pacific Islands context are required to appropriately assess effective predictors of success for this population group. Studies of social marketing interventions targeting non-Pacific Islands populations in non-Pacific Island countries and territories may have limited applicability to Pacific Islanders living in Pacific Island countries and territories. Originality/value: While similar studies have been conducted, this is the first study to review all behaviour change interventions by applying a social marketing lens in the Pacific Islands. While globally this may have been reviewed, the Pacific Islands has a unique context that needs to be considered, rather than assuming a one size fits all approach. This study offers a comprehensive overview of existing health behaviour change interventions in the Pacific Islands and a call to action to move social marketing forward within the Pacific Islands.