Isentia’s analysis showed a marked increase in conversations about obesity in the reporting period compared to the three months prior. While a large proportion of traditional media coverage and social media conversations could be attributed to the announcement of the Childhood Obesity Plan, these fell away swiftly in the subsequent days. However, the campaign appeared to be successful in reviving this discussion, as evidenced by a significant increase in the volume of media reporting and social media activity following its launch.
The analysis also showed that the significance of obesity as an issue was widely recognised, as “obesity is a critical issue” was found to be the leading message overall. Although the government’s efforts to address childhood obesity were regularly acknowledged, the remainder of the project’s leading messages consisted of either praise or criticism of the government’s approach to the issue. This suggested that, for many media outlets and social media users, childhood obesity is an issue that is closely tied to government policy and political debate.
Notably, however, an increase in the prevalence of the message “the government’s approach to childhood obesity is effective” coincided with the launch of the Big Change Starts Small campaign. More importantly, this was also accompanied by a sharp decline in the mentions of unfavourable messages, including “the government is not doing enough to improve childhood obesity rates” and “the government’s approach to tackle childhood obesity is ineffective/misguided”), indicating that the campaign was recognised as an effective measure or, at the very least, successful in shifting the discourse away from politics.
The leading obesity issues for traditional media were largely consistent with those discussed on social media channels, demonstrating a high level of interaction between the two. However, social media posts were markedly less favourable compared to traditional media reports. Social media users were often more critical of the government’s approach to childhood obesity and while criticism was rarely aimed directly at the campaign, it indicated that there was a level of concern about and criticism of the wider issue of childhood obesity and the current approach by the government.
Traditional media reports and social media posts that mentioned the campaign’s assets and ambassadors achieved remarkably high favourability ratings – significantly higher than those which discussed any other obesity-related topics and issues. Overall, the campaign was almost universally positively received; its advertisements and ambassadors were frequently praised and, most importantly, it was directly credited for encouraging and increasing conversations about obesity.
For Y&R, it was also important that the impact of its paid campaign efforts was clear to its end client (HPA). Results were presented with contextual data that showed the impact that paid content had on generating discussion in social media, and if the content was discussed or syndicated by traditional media.
Secondary data from a similar government announcement on changes to the tax system that was followed up by a paid advertising campaign was used to demonstrate the typical media cycle of this kind of announcement. This secondary data also further demonstrated that the paid campaign from Y&R was more effective at keeping momentum than were similar announcements.
HPA now plans to use the report to demonstrate the success of the campaign to its stakeholders. Its success will help HPA attract further funding to continue the campaign. In the meantime, Y&R has started to plan for the next stages of the campaign using the report as guide for key social influencers that it can target for paid content.
But, above all, this process has demonstrated the value of qualitative analysis of traditional and social media, particularly when dealing with complex social issues.
“Isentia’s analysis of the Big Change Starts Small campaign is an instrumental piece of research which will not only help inform the running of subsequent initiatives under the Childhood Obesity Plan, but also help us direct other social change campaigns in the future. This is the first time that we have done any evaluation of this nature, and the findings of this report gave us a great insight into the interaction between a campaign, traditional media news and social media conversations. One of the major challenges of running a publicly-funded social change campaign is to show that money has been well spent, and this report enabled us to demonstrate that we have achieved the desired outcome from an awareness point of view”.
Grant Maxwell, General Manager, Y&R Media New Zealand
Company entering: Isentia
Contact: Kate Greenwood
Telephone: +61 3 8327 6409