More than a half of the Czech population is, or is at risk of, obesity. The project Live Healthy, which AMI Communications has been implementing for the largest Czech health insurance company Všeobecná zdravotní pojištovna (VZP, 60 % market share) already for five years and counting, is a programme aimed at obesity prevention and education about its dangers for adults and children in the Czech Republic. The span and complexity of the project is what makes it unique; all activities are ‘tailor-made’ to fit individual target groups – obesity sufferers, people at risk, the general public and the professional community.
The campaign uses a whole spectrum of communication tools, for example a Chefs’ Roadshow for schoolchildren, a national competition for the best school canteen lunch or professional seminars on obesity for general practitioners. All activities are underpinned by media relations, online communication (ZijZdrave.cz and YesNeYes.cz), etc.
VZP approached AMI Communications to prepare content for a prevention programme aimed at fighting overweight condition and obesity and on promoting a healthy lifestyle among the Czech population. The goal is to draw public attention to the issues of being overweight and obese, the related health risks, and highlight the benefits that healthy living affords. VZP’s expectation in the longer term (several years) is a reduction in the number of overweight and obese people and, as a result, lower cost of treatment associated with being overweight and obese.
We designed a comprehensive prevention campaign relying on regular media relations, direct and online communication, with expert endorsements and advertising. A 3600 mix of communication channels focuses on one key message. The recipe is: better diet + more exercise = healthy living.
The message-equation is translated into the following communicable ideas:
• Obesity negatively affects the quality of life and carries health risks
• Data and statistics about obesity in the Czech Republic
• School canteen produce healthy and tasty lunch options for children
• Think about what you put in your mouth and you will feel better
• How to exercise yourself slim – effectively and for good
The Campaign Layout
There are two key channels for communicating messages to the public:
1. The media, or the press, respectively. Every month there is either an informal event or a press conference; they get sent press releases, information, newsletters or exclusive copy of content. We constantly feed them with resources to enable them to write about the issues of overweight condition and obesity.
2. As 50 % of Czech households are online, we designed two websites for the public. www.ZijZdrave.cz is mainly for adults, with many resources about healthy living and interactive components (videos and online chats with experts, diaries to record energy intake and outlay, events calendar, opinion polls and competitions).
Children and young people can go to www.YesNeYes.cz, with two celebrity chef patrons Ondrej and Filip. In addition to information, visitors will find games and competitions about healthy diets.
And naturally, both websites are linked to Facebook.
All content for the media and the websites is consulted with experts on obesity treatment, children’s diet and other related disciplines.
Every year, we go out to elementary schools in all corners of the country – we bring the kids the Chefs’ Roadshow, which uses many forms of diet-focused and exercise-focused activities to teach the kids about healthy living and to think about what they eat. Filip and Ondrej, two chefs known to the children from a television show and from the YesNeYes.cz website are the main attractions of the show.
When we go out to schools, it is not just to reach out to the children, but we also speak with school canteen managers who we try to motivate to produce healthy and tasty lunches by offering them participation in our competition for the best school canteen lunch; the best healthy recipes are published on the ZijZdrave.cz website. The first year of the competition was met with a lot of enthusiasm – not only from the participating schools, but also from the media (61 articles about how school canteens produce wholesome and tasty lunches for schoolchildren).
The supporting advertising campaign in the print media and online promotes the equation of healthy living, and the website ZijZdrave.cz and VZP. Key messages of the project are communicated regularly throughout the year, not least through reader competition in print and online media, with attractive prizes.
Neither have we forgotten to communicate with professionals. General practitioners benefit from workshops where the biggest authorities in the field of obesitology share detailed information about the treatment of overweight and obese patients.
Every two years, we commission a study of obesity among the Czech population, to share with medical doctors and the media, too.
? 641 articles, reports and mentions in the media over 36 months of the campaign (October 2007 – December 2010), with potential reach of 154,400,000 people. Every single person (out of ten million) in the Czech Republic, could potentially read about the dangers of being overweight or obese and the related health hazards, including tips for healthy living – always in connection with the VZP brand - 15x over the period of the campaign.
? 2,500 children in total were the audience of the YesNeYes Chef’s Roadshow project at schools.
? www.ZijZdrave.cz recorded 322,300 visitors since coming online; and 107,500 children came to www.YesNeYes.cz over the same period.
? According to the latest survey by STEM/MARK, the project Live Healthy is the second best known anti-obesity programme. The first place goes to a project that has been ongoing in the Czech Republic already for 15 years, and the gap in awareness between the two projects is a mere 2 percent.