Outsmart, the Out of Home (OOH) advertising media owners trade body, today launched its ‘Get Smart, Outside’ campaign to work in partnership with public authorities to promote healthy living campaigns in their areas.
Outsmart members have pledged to provide unsold advertising space to the value of up to GBP 15m annually to support the campaign. A new website containing further details about the campaign has also been launched here.
The initiative recognises the importance of the problem of childhood obesity and builds on previous moves by the industry to tackle the issue such as voluntarily removing advertising of food and drink products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) close by schools.
Tim Lumb, Director of Outsmart told us “We’re really excited to be launching our ‘Get Smart, Outside’ campaign today. It’s based on our core belief that we can harness the power of advertising to effect real behavioural change as a force for good. Whilst some bodies are looking at imposing further media restrictions, a better way to tackle the issue is for public authorities and business to work together in partnership, and that is the heart of the ‘Get Smart, Outside’ campaign we are launching today. We aim to go around the country speaking with local authorities and working in collaboration with them to publicise evidence-based solutions that will reduce childhood obesity, promote a healthy and active lifestyle and effect real behavioural change in kids. Importantly, this will have no cost to already hard-pressed local authorities.”
In addition to the centrepiece of the campaign of voluntarily donating advertising space to partner authorities, the sector is looking to discuss a wider package of other measures, including voluntarily adoption of:
- additional advertising guidelines on children’s food preferences
- restrictions on multi-buy HFSS promotions
- extending the existing ‘schools exclusion zone”’ with partner authorities
- promoting a healthy lifestyle tagline message on HFSS advertising
These measures underline the determination of the OOH sector to play a positive role in tackling the issue of childhood obesity in partnership with public bodies. They mirror the large body of evidence on childhood obesity which supports a whole systems approach that is proven to work and in-line with public opinion.
Tim Lumb concluded “Children and families are faced with a huge number of food choices but less messages about healthy lifestyles. We want to help create a balance and promote smart choices for all.”
Outsmart members have always recognised the seriousness of childhood obesity, back in July 2017 they went on the front foot to remove voluntarily the promotion of all HFSS food and drink products within 100m of all school boundaries (the Outsmart ‘Schools Exclusion Zone’). This has resulted in HFSS adverts being removed from over 23,000 sites across the UK, representing 14% of the total number of static outdoor advertising sites in the whole country. Advertisers and their members have rigorously complied with this voluntary initiative, with just a few inadvertent transgressions across the tens of thousands of sites since the initiative came into force.