GSK pushes brand role in public health

Healthcare giant GlaxoSmithKline is calling on the Government to ditch traditional public health information campaigns that “frighten” people into action and instead to use brand expertise to change attitudes.

The views form part of a GSK report called Let’s Get Physical, which argues that old-style public health information campaigns have had their day and are not effective in tackling public health challenges. The report recommends that information about and promotion of exercise should move away from frightening people into good habits and instead make exercise aspirational for children and their families.

The GSK report adds that negative messages lack resonance and effectiveness and that the use of “relevant cues” from fashion and music could deliver positive emotional associations, helping to make public information campaigns more effective.

It also says that by harnessing the consumer insight and expertise of brands such as Lucozade, Ribena, Horlicks or Nike, a more collaborative approach between the private and public sectors can help to change public attitudes. For instance, Jonny Wilkinson, who is associated with GSK through its Lucozade Sports Science Academy, could be a spokesman to discuss healthy lifestyles.

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