NC State Extension

Social Marketing Campaigns

Steps to Health social marketing campaigns provides consumer-focused nutrition education messages through a variety of channels to support its direct nutrition education programs and policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change initiatives. The main objective of Steps to Health social marketing campaigns is to improve nutrition and physical activity behaviors across SNAP-Ed audiences in North Carolina, primarily mothers with young children.

Steps to Health inaugural campaign “They learn from watching you. Eat fruits and veggies and your kids will too.” launched in 10 southeastern counties (Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Sampson, and Wayne) in North Carolina. The campaign targeted low-income mothers of children 8 and younger and encouraged moms to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Since mothers tend to be the primary food shoppers and meal preparers, they can change what food is available in the home and how it is offered and prepared for their children. Healthy eating messages for mothers have the potential to influence what foods they and their children consume, as well as positively change children’s attitudes about fruits and vegetables. The campaign was developed using messages tested by the USDA followed by focus groups and interviews of women in the targeted counties.

Commercials aired on WITN/NBC, WCTI/ABC, WFXI/FOX, WNCT/CBS, and WTVD/ABC television stations and radio ads were heard on WIKS-FM and WRNS-FM radio stations. Digital and social media ads were also a component of the marketing campaign. Five gas stations across Pender (Handy Mini-Mart in Willard and Maple Hills Food Mart in Maple Hill) and Duplin counties (C-Check in Magnolia, C-Check 4 in Warsaw, and Murphy USA in Wallace) displayed the campaign on gas pump toppers and window clings. Lastly, billboards were posted in Carteret county on Highway 101 (zip code 28516) and Wayne County on US 117 South (zip code 27530). Social marketing campaigns like this and others will expand across the state of North Carolina delivering nutrition education messages that have positive value for the SNAP-Ed audience, and North Carolinians at large.

For questions about the campaign, please contact Gretchen Hofing, Steps to Health Program Coordinator at gretchen_hofing@ncsu.edu  or (919) 515-9141.

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