Friday, June 17, 2011

MyPlate - Great Nutrition Device But A Weak Marketing Idea

Years ago, I worked in a promotions department for a large cereal company and was planning the year’s biggest kids directed promotion across the back panel of all our cereal brands.  I had a choice to either run a promotion that tied into NBA basketball or build a game using the Food Pyramid, stressing the goodness of grains.  I chose the Food Pyramid.  Let’s just say I didn’t get a great performance review that year.
 The government just replaced the Food Pyramid with new Government guidelines for better eating and better nutrition called MyPlate.  MyPlate is much better than the confusing Food Pyramid introduced in the early 1990s.  It is much simpler and clearer.  It is primarily a teaching tool for families to use to plan meals.  But is it a strong marketing idea and will it change behavior?
Great ideas, that resonate with consumers, share some common traits:  surprising, provocative, inspiring, educational.  While it is difficult to make nutrition information surprising and provocative,  it is possible if a great advertising idea and marketing campaign can be created around it.   
The Government has, in fact,  had many great marketing ideas that have resonated with the public and changed the way we think.  From war recruitment to education and drug prevention, there have been many successful campaigns.

There is a war on obesity.  Poor eating habits and lack of excercise threatens public health and is probably the single biggest cause of preventable disease.  This war needs teaching tools like MyPlate but it also needs a marketing platform to become part of our collective conciousness.  My Plate is not emotional or compelling.  I fear that consumers will take little interest in this powerful teaching tool and while everyone will eventually know of it, very few will act on it. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I found this blog by googling for "myplate 'paper plates'." I'm not in marketing, but the "myplate" graphic on 9" paper plates seems like a good low cost idea.

I agree the plate is better than the pyramid for promoting healthier eating. And has a few good tools for getting a grip on what (and how much) to put in your mouth. The URL should be attached to the new graphic as promotion.