Find the Fun Now
Obesity is an epidemic across the United States, and Florida's Pinellas County is no exception. One in four adults is obese. Two thirds are either obese or overweight. And nearly 11% of Pinellas County residents suffer from diabetes. The Pinellas County Health Department, using a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wanted to make a dent in those numbers with a media campaign to encourage physical activity and healthy eating.
Preach the health benefits of eating well and getting enough exercise. Employ startling images and stern warnings to get across just how unhealthy people's lifestyles might be. Invent a snappy tag line and then use celebrities and music to plead with children to spend less time in front of the TV and more time moving.
Connect the target audience with physical activities they find fun and healthy food they might like. Sedentary screen time isn't just entertaining; it's easy. So we set out to make "active fun" just as easy by creating and then promoting web and smartphone applications that help Pinellas County residents "find the fun" they want right now. Users can search by neighborhood, budget, time of day, how much time they have for a fun activity and the kind of people they want to invite. The application returns a list of 'actively fun ideas,' along with descriptions and, if an activity is outside, the current weather. The media campaign, which includes television, print, outdoor and online advertising, also brands Pinellas County "the Capital of Fun" and conveys how active fun is a superior product to sedentary screen time. We also created a targeted outdoor strategy to reach key African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods. First, we displayed maps at bus shelters that highlighted fun activities near the bus stop. In addition, because our research showed that Pinellas County's Hispanic population was Spanish dominant and lacked Internet access, we created a direct-mail booklet in Spanish highlighting "actividades divertidas" (fun things to do) close to the neighborhood.
Pinellas County found the fun. In the first nine months of the campaign, over 78,000 people (”more than one in 10 local adults") used the web tool to plan active fun. More than three-quarters of residents (77%) reported a higher interest in physical activity over the prior year, with strong interest correlated to campaign exposure, a post-campaign survey showed. The media campaign achieved aided recall among 33% of those surveyed, and residents who remembered the brand were moved to get moving: 79% said Find the Fun "made me realize there are easy ways to be more active" and 70% said the campaign "taught me the benefits of active fun" and "inspired me to look for active things to do."