Interlex Rolls Out Major New Campaign to Reduce Soda Consumption
“Life’s Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks,” Say Health Officials
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
WASHINGTON-Reducing the consumption of soda and other sugary drinks will be the focus of a new national campaign created by advocacy marketing agency Interlex to reduce diet-related disease. The campaign, created by Interlex for the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), was announced today by CSPI, health departments in several major cities as well as the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and other groups.
The campaign, Life’s Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks, will seek to decrease average consumption of sugary drinks to roughly 3 cans per person per week by 2020. Health officials in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Seattle say that reducing soda consumption is one of their top strategies for reducing rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. All of those cities, plus 110 local and national health organizations, have embraced the Life’s Sweeter campaign
Interlex President & Chief Creative Officer, Rudy Ruiz, said: “This is not your typical advertising or marketing campaign. It’s truly a nationwide movement to take back our health. We’re thrilled to be working with the nation’s thought leaders on nutrition and public health on this front of the battle against the obesity epidemic.”
Sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet and account for half of all added sugars consumed. And unlike any other food or beverage, only sugary drinks have been shown to have a causal role in promoting obesity: Each additional sugary drink consumed per day, according to one study, increases the likelihood that a child will become obese by about 60 percent. A reason that sugary drinks are conducive to obesity is that the calories in beverages aren’t as satiating as solid foods.
The American Heart Association recommends that people limit their intake of sugary drinks to about 450 calories per week, or about three 12-ounce cans. Average consumption is now more than twice that.
“Life’s Sweeter’s goal is to broaden the battle against sugary drinks from health experts to civic organizations, youth groups, civil rights groups, and others,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D. “The enormous health and economic benefits that would result from drinking less ‘liquid candy’ will be supported by a broad cross-section of America. Not since the anti-tobacco campaigns has there been a product so worthy of a national health campaign.”
The campaign’s web site, fewersugarydrinks.org, invites individuals and families to take the Life’s Sweeter challenge to drink fewer or no sugary drinks. In addition, the campaign is encouraging employers, hospitals, and government agencies to adopt policies that would reduce soda consumption. Besides carbonated soda, the campaign targets fruit-flavored beverages with little or no juice, sweetened iced teas, lemonades, energy drinks, and so-called sports drinks such as Gatorade.
“Campaigns like Life’s Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks and our own local efforts will help raise awareness of the harmful consequences of consuming too many sugary drinks, which add empty calories to our diets, inches to our waistlines, and risks to our health,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Director of Public Health and Health Officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“Soda, sports drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages account for up to 10 percent of all calories consumed in the U.S. diet, and are known to be major contributors to obesity. Reducing our intake of these drinks can help reduce the incidence of preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, arthritis, heart attacks, and stroke,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “Here in Boston, we are creating an environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice, whether it’s in schools, worksites, or other places in the community.”
Rachel Johnson, Ph.D., vice chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee and the Bickford Green and Gold Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont, said: “We are proud to support the Life’s Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks campaign to help Americans make smarter beverage choices to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease and improve overall health.”
The Life’s Sweeter campaign was based on extensive quantitative and qualitative research conducted by Interlex in partnership with the Yale University Rudd Food Policy Center. Based on that research, Interlex spearheaded branding, creative development, and messaging for the Life’s Sweeter campaign, which currently includes the website, collateral materials and posters. Additionally, digital and broadcast PSA’s will follow in the near future.
Interlex’s work on the Life’s Sweeter campaign builds on an illustrious track record in public health marketing and nutrition communications, including an ongoing CDC-funded anti-obesity campaign in San Antonio, and past work for the state health departments of Texas, Delaware, Wisconsin and Michigan as well as the USDA’s SNAP and WIC programs.
“We believe that research-based campaigns that also take into account cultural nuances, opportunities and obstacles are more effective at driving comprehensive and enduring behavior change,” said Rudy Ruiz, CEO of Interlex. “This is the only campaign of this kind that has been tested nationally with general and multicultural audiences. So we’re confident it will start to raise awareness and move people in a positive direction with regards to their beverage consumption choices and how these impact their health.”
Interlex is a leading advocacy, cause-related and corporate social marketing firm with offices in San Antonio, New York, Washington, DC, Tampa and Los Angeles. Led by CEO and chief creative officer Rudy Ruiz, the agency’s mission is to help clients make a positive impact in the lives of diverse audiences. It is one of the largest Hispanic-owned agencies in the nation and provides a range of global and national clients seamless General and Multicultural Marketing services within an integrated full-service agency model. www.interlexusa.com.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is a nonprofit health-advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on nutrition and food safety. CSPI is supported largely by the 850,000 U.S. and Canadian subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter and by foundation grants