Why the power of brand partnerships could be key to sugar success for Change4Life
Public Health England’s Change4Life campaign has got a big job on its hands. Currently in the UK, 4-10 year olds consume around 22kg of sugar per year - the average weight of a 5-year-old, something that the government is looking to tackle in its latest war on obesity.
But with sugar so ingrained in both adult’s and children’s diets, is the power of Change4Life alone enough to tackle the might of the sweet stuff? Yesterday (4 January) it launched a £5m “heavy weight” campaign that includes a Sugar Smart app that reveals the amount of sugar in food and drink products, a TV ad and an out of home campaign.
Speaking to The Drum, Public Health England marketing director Sheila Mitchell said that while she is hoping the campaign will help to change consumption and buying habits, she is very keen to work with more commercial brands to leverage their influence over children.
“I would love more brands to work with us, I am absolutely clear that I do what I can do with the available money that the government has got on PHE but it’s the brands that touch people’s everyday lives that are incredibly powerful,” she said. “We’ve proven with organisations like Disney and ITV, or with the supermarkets, and found a common agenda to work to so definitely my message would be; ‘great if we could have more commercial brands working with us as well’”.
Change4Life partnered with Disney this past summer on the ’10 Minute Shakeup’ campaign to encourage children to exercise every day. The idea was to connect with young people on an emotional level through popular Disney stories to get them to do 10 minutes of activity – a tactic that proved fruitful. Over 700,000 children registered to part of the ’10 Minute Shakeup’ and academic research found evidence of children doing around 70,010 minutes of incremental activity each day.
However, the sticking point when it comes to working with such prolific brands boils down to budgetary constraints. “The government has just been through the spending review so we are just at the point of settling what our budget allocations are going to be going forward,” added Mitchell. “But do we want to carry on working with Disney? absolutely. Physical activity is key to both the adult agenda and kid’s agenda too, they’ve been a fantastic example of a great partnership”.
Mitchell also revealed that a campaign targeting adults is in the works for early spring and Change4Life is currently involved in talks with an as yet un-named brand partner.