Government and advertisers unite to battle obesity

Cadbury, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Mars are among a number of companies that have pledged £200m to the help the fight against obesity, and have formed a consortium with the Government to encourage healthy diets and exercise.

The consortium, led by the Advertising Association, aims encourage healthy diets and physical activity in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics. The industry will contribute, which will be spread over four years, is in addition to the Government’s own £75m three year advertising and marketing campaign.

The move, first predicted in Marketing Week (June 11, 2008), will be the first time that the food, drink, broadcasting and advertising industries have worked with the Government to promote healthier lifestyles.

Other advertisers that have joined the consortium are Britvic, Kraft, PruHealth and Tesco. It also includes broadcasters BSkyB, ITV, AOL, Discovery Networks UK and Virgin Media Television. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, RadioCentre, OMD and Viacom are also involved.

Baroness Peta Buscombe (pictured), chief executive of the AA, says: “Business is part of the solution to tackling obesity in the UK. By harnessing the immense talents in this country in advertising, marketing and media, we believe we can make a real difference, bringing about real change. Business is delighted to be working with government to improve diets and increase exercise.”

The industry will integrate core campaign messages into branded communications and activities and use broadcast media to amplify the central campaign theme.

Plans for a series of high profile, industry co-ordinated public events to be held across the UK are also in development. The activity set to run over the in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics and is designed to amplify the Government’s messages about the need to exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet.

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