In 2005 the California Center for Public Advocacy (CCPHA) teamed with Brown-Miller Communications to introduce two new bills (SB 12 and SB 965) in the state of California which would eliminate junk food and sodas in schools to combat obesity. Childhood obesity has been an increasing problem in California that has seldom been addressed by legislators. Through extensive research and media analysis, the CCPHA and Brown-Miller Communications were able to create a successful campaign to win passage of the legislation.
The CCPHA and Brown-Miller Communications wanted to make legislators accountable for the rising obesity numbers in their own district. By creating a campaign that focused on research, community outreach and voting trends, they were able to pass laws that would ban junk food and sodas in California schools, in hopes of reducing the childhood obesity numbers.
The key tactic used in this campaign was research on the target audiences. The voting history of all 80 State Assembly members was accounted for to see who usually supported health initiatives and who was still unsure. A media analysis of which news outlets were in favor of healthy standards helped figure out which ones would support the new legislation.
- Made personal contact with media personal to give the correct facts and stats about childhood obesity in their specific district
- Sent out childhood obesity research information to California legislators before voting
- Met with media to discuss what information was important to give to legislators and the public
- Created a safe media environment, where legislators in favor of the bills spoke candidly about their support
- Issued press releases and media alerts about the progress of the legislation
- Met personally with the governor of California to secure his backing on the campaign
The campaign was successful, and both bills (SB 12 and SB 965) were passed. The CCPHA and Brown-Miller Communications were able to push childhood obesity in California to the top of the legislators’ list instead of it continuing to always be dismissed. The passing of the bill prompted other state legislators to consider changing the school food regulations in their own state in the hopes of decreasing their childhood obesity problems.
The extensive research behind this campaign was what made it successful. Quickly gaining the support of legislators with a history of supporting health initiatives allowed them to speak openly to the media about why it should pass, using specific facts and numbers on the issue as support. This, in turn, swayed legislators who were usually on the fence to vote in favor of the bills.
I think that the CCPHA and Brown-Miller Communications could have reached out to the community more to gain support. If the district legislators would have seen that the public was also in favor of these bills, they might have passed it sooner.