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Can the spirit of the Olympics help fight obesity

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This is a piece of wrote for an internal newsletter for UM. Just my view on how brands could help a growing obesity problem by helping motivate people to be more active.

Published in: Economy & Finance, Travel
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Can the spirit of the Olympics help fight obesity

  1. 1. September 2008 Can a global event solve the obesity problem in Britain? Being an Australian living in London during the So how does this affect communications and media recent Olympics has to be one of the most painful planning? We have to start changing the way we think periods of my life. Trying to keep your wit flying about sporting partnerships. Instead of asking ourselves and your patriotism strong during adversity, without ‘how do we use sport to make people remember our showing any sign of a tear to your opponent should brand’ we need to starting asking ‘how do we activate be an Olympic sport in itself. But I do have to people to get involved with our brand through sport?’ grudgingly say, it is a fantastic time for British sport. Recent work for a sporting brand highlighted that although a large part of the population watched team related The recent triumph in Beijing, the government investment sports, be it in television or live, many more people in a huge number of sporting initiatives and the lead actually participate in individual sports. up to London 2012 has shown Britain has the ability and opportunity to truly perform on the world stage of sport. A more influence led communication model led This is the perfect opportunity to help address a global us to consider how we could use sport as a problem, locally. The increase in obesity of both adults platform to drive participation through motivating and children is affecting Britain as well as the western involvement in an individual sport. world and has to be addressed before it is too late. Britain is the third most obese country in the world Lloyds TSB, a British bank, is utilising its sponsorship behind USA and Mexico. to 2012 as a launch platform for its 250 grants for up and coming sports stars to help support their But the truth is that the consumption of fat has development. Nike+ understood the motivations of decreased by 25% in the past 30 odd years. The lack runners, and added to the experience by understanding of an active lifestyle is a key factor in the growth of the role of technology in participation. Not only did they obesity. Globalisation of fast food into emerging markets help you to set goals and track your progress, but they will continue to drive this problem even further across also tapped in to our competitive spirits. The recent world Latin America, Asia and Europe. But I believe, we can 10km run created by Nike brought everyone together counter this in Britain by using patriotic support for across to the world after helping them to train, set goals Britain’s Olympic hopefuls, the government’s expenditure and finally participate in the event. Runners report Nike on sporting initiatives, as well as more brands getting apparel taking over the running parks in Stockholm, involved in sport, helping us all to be more active. New York, San Francisco, Singapore and Sydney. The centerpiece of the London Olympic bid was We have to change the way we think about sporting a national commitment to engage two million more partnerships. The key question is “How do we activate Britons in sporting activities. We can already people to get involved with our brand through sport?” see the social benefits of sports investment That way we can grow our client’s business, and help overshadowing Britain’s sports personalities. address a growing social issue. Major sports brands are starting to recognise that it is more fruitful to get involved at a Michael Johnston grass roots level, encouraging ordinary Communications Planning Director people’s sporting habits. Successful brands Universal McCann, UK in this space focus on truly engaging the Michael.johnston@umww.com audience and adding something to their http://thingsdonotchangewechange.blogspot.com sporting experience that will motivate active participation.

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