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  1. VERB

  2. Problem (2002-06) • The problem in a nutshell: Childhood obesity! • Some facts mentioned in the VERB Book: Only IL and MA have physical education from grades 1-12. • 60% of kids do not participate in any sort of athletics away from school. • The number of overweight adolescents has tripled since 1980.

  3. More problems • Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. • Health care costs associated with physical inactivity top 76 billion dollars. • 80% of obese children become obese adults. • (CDC, 2006).

  4. Campaign Strategy • The primary audience was the “tween” demographic, namely kids 9-13. • During these years kids are at risk of becoming physically inactive. • Secondary audiences include parents (Time For Kids mini magazines), teachers (handouts), and organizations (after school groups).

  5. Theoretical Framework • Any of the three theories somewhat fit the VERB campaign. • For instance: Health Belief Model can focus on the obesity problem and the long term issues it can lead to (diabetes, heart disease). • Dilemma is convincing 9-13 year olds of the perceived severity and susceptibility down the road. • Positive: Advocating “Go out and play” has few barriers. Benefits outweigh barriers at least.

  6. Theories (cont.) • Theory of Planned Behavior: Some aspects fit VERB, like subjective norms. Who would say playing is a BAD thing? • On this level however it is reasonable to influence behavioral control and attitude. • This can in turn influence kids’ behavioral intent, and thus the actual behavior. • End result: More kids go out and play.

  7. 3rd Theory • Social Cognitive Theory. This is the trickiest one. What are the factors influencing whether kids go out and play or not? • Are there environmental factors? No decent playground nearby for inner city kids? Unsafe areas? • Interpersonal: Are these kids around other kids who sit around and play video games, watch TV?

  8. SCT (cont.) • Intrapersonal: Do these kids have the desire to change? Are they obsessed with TV, video games, etc. on a personal level, or are they open to going outside as well? • BEHAVIOR! These factors all lead to kids playing or not playing and the VERB campaign primarily sought to promote behavior change at the intrapersonal level.

  9. Positioning • A good positioning statement for VERB: We want tweens (9-13) to see physical activity as more enjoyable, more important, and beneficial than sitting in front of a TV or computer screen all day. • This sort of positioning involves a focus on benefits, behavior, and competition. Barriers? Maybe some.

  10. The Dreaded Logic Model of Doom • VERB inputs: Consultants, staff, research and evaluation, contractors, community infrastructure, and partnerships. • This leads to campaign activities, which include: Advertising, promotions, the web, public relations, and national and community outreach.

  11. Logic (cont.) • These all led to short term outcomes for both the tweens and parents. To wit: Tweens and parents feel the BUZZ~! Increases awareness of the brand message, etc. • This led to mid-term outcomes: Changes in subjective norms, beliefs, self efficacy, and perceived behavioral control. • For instance, not only will the kids change their own behavior, but parents, teachers, and coaches will mobilize and raise awareness as well.

  12. Logic…again • The long-term outcomes include tweens engaging in and maintaining physical activity, thereby reducing chronic diseases. • The model also indicates that there is a possible displacement strategy that tweens who participate in physical activity may also have less unhealthy, risky behaviors. •

  13. The Development Process • 25 qualitative interviews were done with tweens and parents of various ethnic groups (White, Black, Latino, Asian, Native American). • These interviews lasted 3 hours overall. 2 hours with the kid, 1 hour with the parents. • An additional 25 tween/parent dyads filled out diaries with after school thoughts, etc. •

  14. Message Development • The VERB researchers were looking for three key factors: • 1. Cultural, ethnic, and economic dynamics that unify and differentiate tweens. • 2. Motivators and barriers involving tween participation in physical activity. • 3. Motivators and barriers involving parental involvement in tweens’ physical activity.

  15. Exploratory Research • Ten focus groups, in depth interviews. 16 dyads, 6 more groups with parents as well. • Motivators included: Being with friends, engaging in self discovery, participating in competitions. • Barriers included: Fear of failure, lack of time, family responsibilities, and competing interests.

  16. Concept Testing • 100 focus groups with dyadic and triadic interviews determined the best concepts that appealed to the tweens. • Rough drafts of various ads were shown during these interviews (print, video, sketches, storyboards). • Initial likes and dislikes were recorded and used for the next stage.

  17. Message Testing • Similar to concept testing but conducted during campaign, with 100 focus groups, dyadic and triadic interviews, etc. • Nearly finalized ads were shown at this point, with feedback used to fine tune the ads before the ads were released. • Material that was either confusing or controversial was noted and eliminated.

  18. Marketing Mix • VERB used a variety of ads and communication. • Physical activity kits were distributed in schools (25,000 in all). • TV ads, news coverage, paid radio ads, print ads, etc. • Websites were used as well:,, and

  19. Process Evaluation • Qualitative and quantitative analysis were used. Data tracked tween attendance at VERB events to see if prizes and giveaways were justified. • Use of the physical activity kits was monitored in schools to see how effective those were. • Tween use of the VERB websites was monitored to see what was resonating.

  20. More Process • Advertising was measured by gross ratings points (% of avg. audience x frequency of exposure to the ad). • Tracking surveys were conducted throughout the campaign. Data was broken down by age, gender, and race. • Age specific telephone surveys proved to not be very racially diverse, so shifts were made in the process to boost minority involvement.

  21. Outcome Evaluation

  22. More Outcomes • In these panels tweens were asked about 3 key areas of VERB: • Awareness and understanding of VERB. • Level of participation in physical activity. • Attitudes toward physical activity.

  23. Components • Four components were measured: unaided VERB awareness, aided awareness of VERB, understanding of VERB awareness, recalled frequency of encountering VERB. • Questions were things like “Have you seen or heard any messages about kids being active?” “Have you heard of VERB?” “What is VERB all about?” “What does VERB mean to you?”

  24. Psychosocial and Behavioral • The Youth Media Campaign Longitudinal Survey (YMCLS) was used to measure outcome expectations, self efficacy, and social influences. • Behavioral: 4 categories measured. • 1. Nonschool physical activity the day prior to interview. • 2. Nonschool physical activity during free time in the past 7 days. • 3. Nonschool organized physical activity in the past 7 days. • 4. The sum of free time and organized physical activity.

  25. Findings • To make a long story short, here are the overall findings and scorecard: • 86% of kids surveyed said VERB made them feel like getting active right now. • 85% said VERB ads are for all kinds of kids. • 83% of kids said VERB ads tell you great stuff.

  26. More Findings • 79% surveyed said VERB ads are really cool. • 68% said VERB gives you good ideas for different activities. • 62% said VERB ads give you confidence to try new things. • 76% described VERB ads as exciting.

  27. Bottom Line • Kids who recalled VERB messages showed gains in physical activity. • Kids without VERB recall showed no gains in overall physical activity. • Kids exposed to VERB were significantly more likely to show positive perceptions of physical activity and say they can find a physical activity they enjoy.

  28. Did it work? • As a campaign, VERB won 35 different awards, such as “Breakout Campaign of 2005” (Kid Power Awards) and “Best Interactive Campaign of 2005” (Pro Awards). • In the end, VERB worked.