Gut Check: Changing Colorado’s Perception of Obesity
Despite its designation as the “leanest state in the nation,” Colorado’s obesity rate continued to soar at the start of 2011 with nearly 20 percent of the state’s adult population considered obese or overweight. Research confirmed one reason why: Coloradans have a difficult time accurately identifying obesity, which fuels misconceptions that prevent people from identifying the state of their own health. LiveWell Colorado needed to awaken families to the truth and turned to GFM to deliver a PR campaign as part of a statewide integrated culture change campaign intended educate and engage all Colorado residents in a movement to encourage healthy lifestyle changes.
GFM immediately began laying the groundwork for the public launch of the Culture Change Campaign by planning local, regional and national media strategies that targeted health and wellness reporters, mom bloggers and Hispanic media.
Each incremental step of the plan was dependent on the success of the prior initiative. Core components included:
Establishing an understanding of the research results that would frame the issue
Building momentum around the advertising campaign would drive families to take a “gut check” online to gauge their health
Developing and placing opinion articles to engage the audiences statewide on topics such as “Obesity is a reality, not a reality show”
Creating an ongoing LiveWell Moms ambassador program to actively include moms in the mission of LiveWell Colorado and provide a support network to encourage healthy changes within families
These efforts were enhanced with optimized and bilingual news releases, the launch of an improved LiveWell Colorado Facebook page which included a Body Mass Index calculator tool application, traditional media and influencer pitches, op-ed placements, blogger outreach and ongoing strategic program refinement, to create a successful, multi-pronged approach to delivering the culture change messaging and motivating people to take action via the website tools or by becoming a LiveWell Mom.
Within six months following the official campaign launch, LiveWell Colorado reached more than 280,000 “gut checks” calculated on the LiveWell Colorado website and attracted 75,000 website visitors – a 540 percent increase compared to traffic prior to the campaign. The Facebook page grew to attract 3,200+ fans, up from 300 before the campaign. And, GFM helped LiveWell Colorado successfully launched the LiveWell Moms ambassador program using a combination of grassroots and social media outreach that continues to connect more than 300 moms from across the state to advocate for healthier living. In addition, efforts to drive attention to the campaign via press coverage resulted in 24 pre-campaign launch media placements highlighting the initial research results. Additionally, outreach efforts in support of the television advertising and online campaign resulted in 45 successful media placements that supported our objectives to create awareness, drive website traffic, and engage influencers. In Fall 2011, Colorado Healthcare Communicators recognized these outstanding efforts with a Silver Leaf Award.