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New Movement in Anti-Obesity Advertising
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Obesity is getting worldwide attention. It only makes sense, then, that the emphasis of advocacy will fall on the shoulders of AdLand. 

Organizations worldwide are ramping up campaigns and initiatives to face the obesity problem. One of these campaigns is the Change4Life initiative, a campaign being launched this week by the National Health Service of the UK. The campaign comes with its own website, social media elements, recipes, tips, and a voluntary "traffic light system" that food makers can opt-in.

Below is one of its online videos:

The traffic light system is something that many brands in the U.S. already do. The system, composed of green, amber, and red, is supposed to show the consumer what low (green), medium (amber), and high (red) levels of sugar, cholesterol, and fat are in foods. Based on the system, savvy grocery shoppers are admonished to create recipes "high in greens and ambers, and low in reds."

Obviously, easier said than done.

But they are on the right track. A study being published in Nutrition Reviews suggests that consumers respond more favorably to products that show nutritional information with graphics and color, rather than just numbers. The research also showed that food packages containing such information commanded more attention, which may influence purchasing behavior.

As with most health-related campaigns, there is a catch. It seems that the healthier the product, the more readily available the nutritional information, and the more informed the consumer. The research saw this too; nutritional information and this new method of packaging must be targeted to those more susceptible to obesity-related illnesses. Based on their conclusion, the brands opting into the program are not the ones that need to be.

So the education and fight continues. But as it does, we are seeing AdLand taking a larger role.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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