Change4Life unveils first children’s campaign

Change4Life is embarking on its first campaign aimed directly at children, following research that showed public engagement with the healthy lifestyle initiative had dropped by 80%.

The Really Big Summer Adventure will run throughout the six week school holidays and will encourage children to complete an activity pack designed to make their activities and diets more healthy.

The Department of Health will distribute sticker booklets and teacher information packs to schools. Children can complete the sticker book by playing suggested games such as stuck in the mud and sack races or following the booklet’s recipes to make healthy smoothies and snacks.

Change4Life hopes to extend its retail partnership with Asda to push the summer holiday activity in-store and in the supermarket’s campaigns, although this has yet to be confirmed. The scheme has dropped its previous media partner, the News of the World, in favour of the Mirror Newspaper Group, which will promote the campaign in its national newspapers and online.

Other brand partner announcements are expected to follow.

Department of Health (DoH) director-general of communications Sian Jarvis says although Change4Life has sometimes come under fire for partnering with brands such as PepsiCo and Mars that sell some unhealthy products, the Department has “very tight terms of engagement” it asks partners to sign.

She adds: “These are brands consumers bump into every day, so if we can get them to support families and children to make small healthy changes that can only be a good thing.”

Change4Life Brand partners are required to create new marketing materials to push the scheme, rather than just adding the logo and communications must carry both diet and healthy activity messaging.

The Government has set aside a £14m marketing budget for Change4Life for the entire year, which will include a £500,000 TV campaign for the summer initiative.

A TV ad, airing from July, will feature the plasticine Change4Life brand ambassadors promoting Government guidelines for children to have 60 “active minutes” per day.

The ad will also direct mothers and children to an online “fun generator” that will suggest activity and diet ideas. The digital hub will allow the public to download activity packs and register for ongoing dialogue.

The DoH will use a range of tools to evaluate the success of the campaign, such as measuring the redemption rate for children completing the booklets, research into claimed change behaviours following summer period and basket analysis at retail stores to see if families are making healthier purchasing decisions.

She adds: “We are working hard to make sure we have evidence and evaluation. Demonstrating the campaign is working is an essential part of public health and [illness] prevention.”

The DoH claims that 30% of mothers with children claim to have changed at least one thing in their diets following engagement with the Change4Life campaign.

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