2012 Bateman Case

Loyola University New Orleans vs. University of Maryland, College Park

Overview

The 2012 Bateman Case Study Projects all cover childhood obesity and address the primary causes for childhood obesity within their region. Loyola University discusses the city of New Orleans in Louisiana and the University of Maryland focuses more so in the metropolitan area and discusses obesity rates in Silver Springs, Maryland specifically. The goal for each case study is to raise awareness among children, teenagers, and parents to help end obesity and start living a healthy life. Both universities were challenged to create a public relations campaign and partner up with one or more local organizations that had similar goals and missions to end childhood obesity to then show potential progress in their efforts throughout their study.

Campaign Comparison

Loyola University and University of Maryland both created two unique, but effective, campaigns to reduce childhood obesity. They both also discussed United Way in their campaigns, and University of Maryland made United Way one of its main allies throughout their campaign. However, both universities may have covered their target audience as children, but the demographics differed during their SWOT analysis. Loyola University was very thorough in their research by providing statistics that included 47.5 percent of children in Louisiana as a whole are obese, while 31 percent of African-American children in New Orleans are overweight and obese (Loyola University, 2012). Being that the demographic in Louisiana is different, with more African-Americans, it was appropriate to include the obesity percentage as an inclusive element along with a more narrowed statistic with the ethnicity of the population. University of Maryland had the same approach by including the minorities of Silver Springs, Maryland who make up most of the city with 26.3 percent of the cities population as Hispanic or Latino (University of Maryland, 2012). In contrast, University of Maryland did not provide the statistics for children battling childhood obesity like Loyola University did. University of Maryland’s approach to their campaign was to gear it more toward poverty stricken children who do not have the tools to a healthy lifestyle, therefore partnering up with United Way Worldwide and Children’s National Medical Center to provide activities children in Silver Springs. Maryland could partake in to better themselves. With that being said, University of Maryland’s campaign targets the help from outside organizations whereas Loyola University identifies the issue within schools and targets their campaign strategy to be presented in the school systems of New Orleans, Louisiana. The challenges Loyola University faced within the SWOT analysis was that United Way agencies had programs that were targeted towards childhood obesity, but there needed to be a new approach, which meant a clean slate (Loyola University, 2012). The opportunity, however, was that it was new and exciting that offered children new physical activities they could partake in. Another challenge that Loyola University faced and overcome was the fact that the student group conducting this campaign consisted of five Caucasians and Asian-American students, not African-American students, so the main focus was to treat everyone equally. For the University of Maryland, the challenges that they addressed were that there were no programs that prevent childhood obesity for lower-income, minority children in Silver Springs, Maryland (University of Maryland, 2012). The opportunity from this is that they have already created a connection with United Way and Children’s National Medical Center to then spread the programs they have already set in place for other areas to now bring them to Silver Springs, Maryland. The difference between the two SWOT analysis for both teams is that one has to start from scratch in a sense, while the other has to spread awareness for programs that are already out there, such as “Fun, Fly, & Fit”. Which now leads to the secondary research both universities developed through their study.

The University of Maryland’s approach to their study was to promote fitness through missions. These missions incorporated information briefings to their targeted audience and throughout the secondary information, they laid out the background information needed to have a better understanding of who is suffering obesity, the cause, the importance of physical activity, and the social effects one may suffer with when dealing with obesity. Loyola University incorporates the same information, more so with statistics that are targeted towards their targeted audience in New Orleans, Louisiana, but they also include information that relates globally, such as food choices. Both universities in this portion of the campaign study also include more information for readers about the rise of obesity in high poverty areas. However, the main contrast between both universities is that Loyola University stays on track with giving the backstory of New Orleans, Louisiana and the statistics that contribute to obesity rates in the area. For example, they include the percentage of African-American schools in New Orleans, Louisiana in high poverty socioeconomic status with 84 percent, along with the fact that students attending public school are more likely to be obese then those in private school (Loyola University, 2012). Their primary focus for their campaign is introducing healthier lifestyles and foods within schools and to “Move It, Move It” through physical activity, rather than the University of Maryland with solely focusing on the importance of physical activity to help reduce obesity and how obesity affects the body mentally, emotionally and physically in outside organizations. Therefore, from the secondary research being the background information, it then leads to the information needed for the primary research for each campaign the two universities used.

Loyola University conducted three methods to develop their primary research which included, interviews with professionals and parents, conducted focus groups, and also developed a gap analysis survey to help measure the effectiveness of their campaign with “Choose Dat Not Dis”. The break down between health professionals, nonprofit organizations, kindergarten and elementary teachers, and professional focus groups help Loyola University identify where their campaign is most effective, which is in schools. The primary research may be broad, however, it was necessary information to provide the answer that was needed for the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. In comparison, the University of Maryland primarily rely on information given to them by United Way of the National Capital Area, Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine at Children’s National Medical Center, IDEAL Clinic at Children’s National Medical Center, parent-teacher-student survey, and a meet and greet with two after-school programs they worked with and their “trainees” which were the low-income students. Both campaigns had two completely separate approaches with how they were going to get the message across and gain knowledge as to what works and what doesn’t in their campaign efforts. However, both carried out research methods that we both broad but targeted towards the goals and objectives of their campaigns.

Loyola University and the University of Maryland share similar goals and objectives. One specifically is that the University of Maryland wants to educate at least 75 percent of students, or “recruits” for their mission of living healthy lifestyles (University of Maryland, 2012). Loyola University plans to increase awareness by 10 percent among two hundred children for their campaign (Loyola University, 2012). Another similarity between both campaigns was that they set an objective to gain media attention between the two campaigns for their region. However, in contrast, University of Maryland targeted social media platforms, such as YouTube, creating a web page, Facebook, Twitter, plus other outside media outlets through PTSA, EMS, and print media (University of Maryland, 2012). Loyola University focused their media platforms on blogs, television stations, and even creating a Facebook fan page. The goal for them was to raise media attention and they did so by raising 132,300 media impressions (Loyola University, 2012). Both campaigns had a total of four objectives that were all achieved in their efforts of raising awareness to end childhood obesity.

Key Messages

The key messages in each campaign compare to the features of key messages discussed in Melanie James’ article, Key Messages in Public Relations Campaign, specifically by being credible in each campaign. The University of Maryland presents themselves of being credible when placing statistics and credible numbers, such as the calorie count that the Mission: Fit Possible campaign used by stating, “Replacing one sugary drink each day saves more than 700 calories per week”(University of Maryland, 2012). However, out of the small list of key messages provided by the University of Maryland, they are more common knowledge key messages, ones that do not seem as effective. For example, they did not break down the key messages to their target audience like Loyola University did. Loyola University took into account their target audience and who would be seeing their campaign through media outlets and events. They established credibility through their slogan, “Choose Dat Not Dis”, by incorporating NFL New Orleans, Louisiana Saints and their saying, “Who Dat”, immediately grabbing their target audience through familiar words and phrases. They are very consistent as well, by incorporating this slogan into each key message for each target group. That is something that the University of Maryland did not do. Loyola University’s campaign key messages are affective through their deliverability, articulation, and attribution (James, 2011). However both university campaigns did see results through their key messages with the execution of their objectives and the amount of awareness that was raised for childhood obesity. Specifically Loyola University. They used the power of “Choose Dat Not Dis” by not just using it a key message, but as a product and sold their efforts in raising awareness. This is something that the University of Maryland did not do because they did not use any terminology of their specific campaign. They more so listed the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, which in contrast, is something consumers see in television shows, magazine articles, and social media, it does not set them apart from the competition. With the alliance of working with larger organizations such as United Way, The Boys and Girls Club, and Children’s National Medical Center, the University of Maryland relied more on the organizations they worked with to raise more media attention. In result, they may have seen higher numbers in media attention then Loyola University, because Loyola University focused more so with working on their own and the school system in many parts of their campaign efforts. James mentions in her article that success is not always measured by having key messages challenged, but more so by how much media is taken up (James, 2011). That worked in the University of Maryland’s favor when looking at the results for how much awareness was raised, however, the execution of well thought out key messages and promotion puts Loyola University at a higher standard, and can be viewed as a respectable and unique campaign with their key messages.

Strategies

Loyola University included two strategies for each objective that their campaign had set for themselves to complete, and out of all of the strategies listed, objective one and strategy one seemed to be one that was a standout from the rest. It included that for strategy one they would, “create fun and interactive activities for students in kindergarten through second grade at six local elementary schools. The ‘Choose Dat’ team split their activities into different stations at each school to keep the students alert, interested and focused” (Loyola University, 2012). This strategy is very effective due to the main target audience their campaign is geared towards. It is also scientifically proven that when one is taught healthy habits at a young age, the lessons learned will stick (Tsamma, 2016). Loyola University also included their findings from interviewing teachers that young students do not learn very well when they are placed in lecture-style settings, they retain information more effectively through interactive activities (Loyola University, 2012). Another reason it is effective is that they are assertive in their delivery of what they are going to do. In Developing the Public Relations Campaign, by Randy Bobbitt and Ruth Sullivan, they mention that it is important to research the target audience the strategy is geared towards to then have it be successful, and Loyola University does just that (Bobbitt, Sullivan, pg.71). In contrast, the University of Maryland had a different strategy to relay information on living a healthy lifestyle and ending childhood obesity.

The University of Maryland includes one strategy with each objective in their campaign. The one that stood out for their campaign efforts was, “to work with trainees on improving their health education by visiting their after-school locations multiple times per week and enlisting experts to enhance Mission: FitPossible’s message” (University of Maryland, 2012). Throughout their campaign, the trainees are the students in Silver Springs, Maryland who live in high-poverty areas. Their rationale for this strategy is, “FitPossible Agents made information about healthy eating and exercising accessible to every child. Content indicated that convening frequently reinforces lessons, making it easier for trainees to remember tips and practices throughout the month” (University of Maryland, 2012). The University of Maryland is relying on repetition to enforce physical education to end childhood obesity. The idea alone is great, however, this strategy is focused for one month, it then leaves the audience wondering what will happen after the month is finished. Looking at Loyola University, they never specified an end date, and incorporated teachers taking the pledge to continue with their campaign for years to come, making it an effective strategy. The University of Maryland’s strategy is not as effective, but still effective in the sense that it meets the goals and objectives of their campaign.

Tactics

Loyola University Tactics:

  • To encourage students to drink water instead of soda.
  • Inform students about the amount of fat in the foods they are consuming.
  • Compare the number of jumping jacks one must do to burn off the fat in the foods they eat.
  • Inform students of fun physical activities they can do to “Move It, Move It” when they are home.
  • Show students a fat replica of what five pounds looks like.
  • Create a coloring book for students to remind them of the “Choose Dat Not Dis” foods they have learned.
  • Collect pledges from teachers stating that they will continue to teach the “Choose Dat Not Dis” message.

University of Maryland Tactics:

  • Conduct “Mission Updates” for trainees that participated in small group conversations with FitPossible Agents each week to review their individual progress.
  • Work with the “Balance Zone” by having trainees give details about their meals from the day before by standing on colored squares that represent daily servings of food to give a visual of the portions consumed by the trainees.
  • Play the game, Fun, Fly, & Fit, designed by United Way that is designed to be more physically challenging for trainees.
  • A.D. (Make a Decision) Lib created for trainees to have healthy earing and exercising decisions based on given scenarios.
  • Megan Barna, from IDEAL Clinic at Children’s National Medical Center, discussed snacks that can give proper energy to complete activities and supplied trainees with worksheets that they can take home to their parents.
  • Eleanor Mackey, from the Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine at Children’s National Medical Center, discussed healthy self-esteem with the trainees to help promote the importance of positive body image.
  • Trainees partake in a “Grocery Dash” held in the YMCA Benchmarks and the Boys and Girls Club to match the facts they are provided on paper to the groceries.

Loyola University works within the schools and does not bring outside help within the strategy and tactics listed above. They work more so as a support program for the school in this case. Parents may raise a red flag to Loyola University’s efforts because their program is taking time out of the child’s day, either during school hours or after school hours, where sports and other recreational activities may take place in. There should be a brochure or direct mail sent out stating the mission of Loyola University’s campaign and what they will be doing. Doing that would add to marketing for the campaign and even invite parents in on the fun of ending childhood obesity.

The University of Maryland uses more cause-related marketing to relay the importance of childhood obesity. By bringing in specialists, it also looks good for the specialist and the business they are incorporated with. For example, both guests Megan Barna and Dr. Eleanor Mackey work in the corporate medical field by being associated with National Medical Centers. Although it is their job when dealing with children, they come from a profit-making company and are doing their social responsibilities when working with non-profit groups. It is important to note that the University of Maryland plans to have theses guests on a weekly bases and they will not be paid. There is concern with having a repetition in guest speakers coming in, it may become a controversial issue that leads to the argument of why these guests are not being paid since they are taking time out of their day and week to discuss health issues with young children. Some things to consider would be replacing some of the lectures with interactive, fun, and small group physical activities for the children so they will retain the information in a fun way.

Evaluation

Loyola University strategy fulfilled their objective by exceeding their original objective of increasing awareness by 10 percent to reaching 61 percent more than their original goal. They also increased students’ knowledge of food by 36 percent and increased the students’ knowledge of ways to live a healthy lifestyle by 27 percent, which exceeded their original goal by 170 percent (Loyola University, 2012). Due to the fact that Loyola University plans to have schools continue their campaign efforts, their campaign is part of a summative evaluation because it will continue to show progress in efforts to end childhood obesity and also ties in with before-and-after comparisons with where New Orleans, Louisiana started and where they are now (Bobbitt, Sullivan, pg. 180). Loyola University achieved their goal and objective through their efforts in their campaign strategy.

The University of Maryland’s strategy fulfilled their objective as well by exceeding the original objective from 75 percent to 77 percent of trainees retained the information taught throughout Mission: FitPossible. In fact, the 77 percent of trainees that did retain the information they learned can recall food facts and remember Megan Barna’s lessons on healthy food (University of Maryland, 2012). One can also say this can be part of summative evaluation with the inclusion of before-and-after comparisons due to the improvement the trainees had shown (Bobbitt, Sullivan, pg.180). The data collected can be used to help develop a benchmark of where childhood obesity in the area of Silver Springs, Maryland started to where they are now and if the University of Maryland’s campaign was effective and if it should continue to be apart of outside organizations routines.

Conclusion

To conclude with the comparison and contrast of both campaigns between Loyola University and the University of Maryland, both were very effective and provided well thought out strategies to complete their task of reducing childhood obesity in their areas of which their university resides in. Loyola University’s campaign was the most effective because not only were they thorough in providing information to readers and showing statistics to backup their research, they were the most concise on who their target audience was and how they were going to approach the issue. Working with children means that you have to have interactive studies and not lectures, like the University of Maryland had. However, with that being said, the University of Maryland is surrounded by the metropolitan area that provides media outlets to help make their campaign effective and reach more people, which worked in their favor when raising publicity for their campaign. If the University of Maryland was more concise as to whom their target audience was and stuck with that target audience throughout their campaign and included more interactive activities with the children, they would have been first place in the Bateman competition. The University of Maryland was not as concise as Loyola University was and that inevitably hurt them. In addition to that, Loyola University not only provided one strategy for each objective, they provided two that coincided with the first strategy to help strengthen the result of their goals and objectives. Loyola University was the winner of the Bateman competition because of their high quality research methods, clean and concise mission throughout their campaign, and the results proven by the strength in which they had to help reduce childhood obesity in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

 

References

Andes, N., Carroll, D., Halloran, J., Kleiman, E., McClenny, J. (2012). Mission: FitPossible. Retrieved from http://prssa.prsa.org/scholarships_competitions/bateman/2012/UniversityOfMaryland.pdf

Bobbitt, R., Sullivan. R. (2014). Developing The Public Relations Campaign. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Broussard, A., Kimbro, W., Lien, J., Moore, M., Tieu, N. (2012). Choose Dat Not Dis. Retrieved from http://prssa.prsa.org/scholarships_competitions/bateman/2012/LoyolaUniversityNewOrleans.pdf

Tsamma (2016, July 8). Importance of Starting Healthy Habits Even At An Early Age. Retrieved from http://tsammajuice.com/blogs/blog-events/importance-of-starting-healthy-habits-even-at-an-early-age

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