Childhood obesity on McCann’s plate
Safefood campaign needs right tone to get parents’ attention, says ad executive Blaney
McCann Dublin has been appointed to handle Safefood’s next public health campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the problem of childhood obesity and excess weight.
Safefood’s previous Stop the Spread campaign adopted a horror-movie tone in its effort to jolt adults who are overweight and obese into confronting the issue – in the first instance, by measuring their waists.
The childhood campaign won’t take the same approach, as a tape measure is inappropriate for calculating whether or not young people have a weight problem, notes McCann Dublin chief executive Orlaith Blaney.
Childhood weight issues are complex, she says. “We know how important it is to get the tone and style of the communication right to ensure parents pay attention and take action.”
Incorporating a “shock factor” into advertising messages can be effective, but such tactics can also “lead to further denial”, she says.
McCann’s campaign is still in the research phase ahead of the late September launch, but the health benefits of a normal weight, rather than the superficial ones, are likely to be the key to its communications.
“An awful lot of the weight debate focuses on how people look, but the health message is much more important than whether you look overweight,” says Blaney.
Expect themes such as balance and moderation to feature. “I don’t think it’s in any way about demonising any food – it’s about making choices.”