Marketers Help Consumers Stick to New Year’s Resolutions

We’re one month into 2012—a perfect time to assess the state of New Year’s resolutions that strive for better health. For marketers, trying to get consumers to change their habits for the better is an annual first-quarter ritual—and the best programs provide true substance, not quick fixes. For example, food brands are focusing marketing on what’s actually in their products with a transparency that lets consumers know there’s nothing to hide.

For consumers, working toward health-related resolutions remains high. In fact, 75% of Americans resolved to lose weight this year, according to published research. However, an even higher number, 78%, end up breaking their resolutions because they set the bar to achieve success to high.

Here are four marketers who created programs with the potential for real staying power.

Multi Grain Cheerios: “Reach Your Better Body Goal”

Last year, Multi Grain Cheerios partnered with the hit TV show, “The Biggest Loser.” Leveraging that established formula, this year Cheerios is teaming with another strong health entity, “Fitness Magazine,” to create a weight-loss program that is communicated across multiple channels: FSIs, TV, on-pack, Twitter and Facebook. The four-week promotion includes quick recipes and mix-and-match 1,500-calorie meals, plus a cardio plan and motivational tips—all created by “Fitness Magazine” experts.

There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.

Ray Goforth

Consumers access the free program via package codes on 7.5 million packages, which lead to a custom Cheerios brand site (and a “Fitness Magazine” subscription offer.) The program also features a series of custom-produced videos following three girlfriends as they work toward their weight and fitness goals.

Capitalizing on the brand’s established health credentials, the “Body Goal” program offers consumers relevant, practical advice and a lot of choices. All for the price of a box of cereal.

Ziploc: “The Great American FreshOver Project”

Ziploc, like Cheerios, understands the power of associating with a well-known, trusted brand. As a non-food product, Ziploc wisely approaches the healthy eating space by teaming with a food expert—culinary superstar Rachael Ray. Ziploc brings the benefits of portability and freshness; Ray adds food creds and high wattage visibility. The partnership is the heart of a two-year initiative to help Americans overhaul their diets while balancing convenience and nutrition.

Ziploc’s Facebook page is the gateway to a downloadable, customizable FreshOver Recipe Guide. Consumers can track their progress on Facebook and get exclusive cooking videos and tips from Ray, in addition to prizes and coupons.

The program also offers a food prep skills game with Ray, providing instant wins as well as a $5,000 grand prize. In addition, consumers are invited to follow a group of mom bloggers as they record their progress with FreshOver projects.

The “FreshOver” concept is a clever way to make a plastic household product part of the healthy-eating conversation.

Yoplait Light: “Do the Swap”

In the past, Yoplait has focused on a two-week weight-loss message. This year, they’re switching to a concept that’s much more ownable and relevant to Yoplait Light’s point of difference—more than 30 low-calorie flavors. Teaming with TV host and “The Mommy Diet” author Alison Sweeny, Yoplait’s “Do the Swap” promotion helps consumers cut calories by swapping one high-calorie food a day for a low-calorie Yoplait Light yogurt. The brand’s website includes a “swap meter,” showing various combinations of swaps and calorie savings, plus an online swap game.

Yoplait extends the concept into healthy “activity swaps”—a walk instead of a bus ride, for example. On Facebook, “Style Network” host Jeannie Mai brings the idea of looking healthier into fashion—demonstrating simple “fashion swaps” that can expand consumers’ wardrobes and update their looks to show off their new, trimmer bodies.

As the health food of choice for millions of Americans, yogurt is a hugely competitive category. By reinforcing the brand’s low-calorie benefit and unique range of flavor choices, the “Swap” helps Yoplait Light stand out from the crowd. And here are four other brands—Dole, Smart Balance, Silk and Whole Foods—that are using a specific program to hook consumer interest and provide a clear path to long-term health.

Tyson Grilled & Ready: “30 Days. 30 Ways. 30 Rewards”

This calendar-based program encourages consumers to start the year off on the right track, making Tyson Grilled & Ready products part of a new, healthier routine. As part of the program, consumers get a different healthy tip and recipe every day for 30 days, along with a chance to win a daily “healthy lifestyle” prize. The multi-platform effort includes a custom microsite, Facebook activation, gym network signage, and content partnerships with Hungry Girl and targeted magazines: “Shape,” “Self” and “Women’s Health.”

With its multi-faceted engagement strategy, the “30 Days” program surrounds consumers with many ways to establish a healthy routine early in the year—and stick to it. The three-pronged approach (recipes, tips, rewards) and the memorable 30-Day hook make healthy eating seem manageable—even fun.

It’s no secret that getting people to make lasting health changes is a challenge. Smart marketers recognize the need for incremental steps and ongoing support—not just promotional dazzle. Successful programs deepen the consumer’s attachment to the brand while encouraging long-term positive change. What could be healthier?

Holly Shaw
Holly Shaw is a content manager for a number of multinational brands and a freelance journalist. She specializes in the field of business and entrepreneurship. When Leona is not reading or publishing, she likes going out into the countryside for some relaxation.