Tagged: United States

Michelle Obama: Marketing Can Make America Healthier

I don't think I ever could have imagined that, as first lady, I would appear in an episode of Billy on the Street to promote fruits and vegetables and would wind up slow dancing with Big Bird in a supermarket while Billy Eichner serenaded us with an Aerosmith song.

Michelle Obama Headshot: Alex Fine

But then again, six years ago, I don't think any of us could have imagined that Fenway Park would have a 5,000-square-foot farm on its rooftop to provide fresh produce for its fans; or that 50 million Americans would visit a government website called ChooseMyPlate to learn about healthy eating; or that sales of kale would jump 50 percent in just four years; or that 1.6 million kids would be in healthy daycares, eating more than 225 million healthy snacks and meals a year; or that more than 30 million kids would be eating healthier school breakfasts and lunches every day; or that the first unanimously chosen NBA MVP, Steph Curry, would choose fruits, vegetables and water as his primary product endorsements.

In 2010, when I first launched Let's Move!—a nationwide effort to address our childhood obesity epidemic and raise a healthier generation—the challenge was so big and entrenched that this kind of transformation in how we live and eat seemed nearly impossible.

Nonetheless, we were still determined to make a difference, so we engaged leaders from all sectors—educators, medical professionals, elected officials, parents and even kids themselves—to create public-private partnerships and science-based policy to improve access to healthy food.

But we also knew we would need to get kids excited about eating that food and inform and empower parents to purchase and prepare that food for their families. And that meant meeting people where they are with fresh, interactive approaches and relevant, inspiring messages.

We started by planting a vegetable garden on the White House lawn with local students to help kick off a national conversation around how we eat and where our food comes from. And since then, we've employed just about every medium imaginable to try to cut through the noise and engage kids and families directly—from Vine Q&As that brought about Turnip for What, to appearing on Disney's Doc McStuffins in cartoon form, to Mom Dancing with Jimmy Fallon (twice).

We've also worked to use the power of advertising to our favor, which is no easy task when of the nearly $2 billion spent annually on advertising food to youth, less than 1 percent is spent on marketing fruits and vegetables (which, according to current nutrition guidelines, are supposed to fill half our plate at each meal). But we all know that advertising works, so we figured, why shouldn't fruits and vegetables get in on the action? That's the idea behind Partnership for a Healthier America's iconic FNV marketing campaign for millennials that utilizes celebrities like Steph Curry, Jessica Alba, Cam Newton and dozens of others in smart, funny ads for fruits and vegetables.

In just the past year, FNV has drawn 1 billion media impressions, and 70 percent of people who saw the campaign said they ate more produce as a result.

The same idea underlies a campaign by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) called "eat brighter!" through which Sesame Workshop is allowing PMA to use Sesame Street characters, without a licensing fee, to promote fruits and vegetables in 29,000 grocery stores (think Elmo stickers on apples). Thanks to our favorite furry friends, PMA reported an increase in fruit and vegetable sales among campaign participants nationwide.

Once we got people excited about healthy eating, we knew we would also have to improve how nutrition information is communicated to help folks actually buy and serve those healthy foods to their families. That's why we launched MyPlate—an icon that replaced the old food pyramid and provides clear guidance for how to put together a healthy meal.

In addition, for the first time in 20 years, the FDA just finalized a new and improved Nutrition Facts label—with more realistic serving sizes, bigger font to showcase the calorie count and information about how much sugar was added during processing and how much comes from ingredients like fruit—that will soon be on nearly 800,000 food products nationwide.

So today, from the time our kids are barely old enough to talk, so many of them are hearing a new set of messages and being exposed to a new set of options around healthy eating. As a result, they're developing a set of habits and preferences that will set them on a healthy path for the rest of their lives.

But as much as we've accomplished, we are only just getting started. While it's true that childhood obesity rates have stopped rising for the first time in decades, and rates are dropping for our youngest kids, we haven't yet achieved the ultimate change we seek, which is to end our childhood obesity epidemic and raise a healthier generation.

That's why I intend to keep working on this issue not just during my remaining time as first lady, but for the rest of my life.

And I'm confident that if we keep working together, and being even more creative and innovative about how we market healthy food to our kids, then we can solve this problem and give all our children the bright futures they so richly deserve.

Michelle Obama (@FLOTUS) is the first lady of the United States of America and founder of Let's Move! She has been at the forefront of the push for a healthier and more active generation of Americans.

This story first appeared in the June 6, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

Walmart Will Close All 102 of Its Smaller ‘Express’ Stores

Walmart will shutter 102 of its smaller stores, known as Walmart Express, as it looks to strengthen its Supercenters. The Bentonville, AR-based company will be closing 269 stores total, with 154 of those located in the United States.

The closures, part of a restructuring effort, will impact roughly 16,000 employees, with 10,000 of those in the U.S. The chain noted that "roughly 95 percent" of the stores closing in the U.S. were within 10 miles of another Walmart, so it hopes that affected workers will be able to find positions at other nearby stores.

"Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future," Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. "It's important to remember that we'll open well more than 300 stores around the world next year. So we are committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it."

The smaller Walmart Express stores had been part of a pilot program from the company in effect since 2011. Opening these smaller stores, which at roughly 10,000 to 40,000 square feet were a fraction of the chain's typical location size, was meant to be part of a growth plan for Walmart

Instead the company will pivot back to its bread and butter by strengthening its larger offerings. As the company looked into its growth plan for the next three years it found that customers who used the Walmart Express stores were still relying on the supercenters. 

Walmart will look to build its Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets as well as its e-commerce business. According to its release, Walmart plans to open 50 to 60 Supercenters as well as 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets in its fiscal 2017, which begins Feb. 1. 

At the same time Walmart has plans to expand its sister discount brand, Sam's Club, by opening seven to 10 new locations. And internationally the company will add somewhere between 200 and 240 stores.

Article originally appeared on Adweek Advertising & Branding: Link.

Noted: New Logo for Funimation

Founded in 1994 with the acquisition of the hit television series “Dragon Ball Z” from Toei Animation. Since then, FUNimation® Entertainment now has more than 300 active titles and has established itself at the leading company for home video sales of Japanese animation in the…

Article originally appeared on Brand New: Link.