This is an excerpt from the Live Well in Alabama FY18 Annual Report.
Social marketing is the broadest and furthest reaching component of Auburn University SNAP-Ed’s multi-level, comprehensive approach to obesity prevention. Using a variety of original and engaging campaign materials, the Live Well Alabama messages to Eat Better, Move More, and Make a Change for better health reach tens of thousands of Alabama residents in multiple ways every day.
The social marketing initiative aims to reinforce and support the direct education and policy, systems, and environmental change initiatives for years to come. The overarching goal was to develop memorable, engaging, and effective SNAP-Ed resources and to integrate them into local communities as motivation for daily physical activity. According to SNAP-Ed participants, the Live Well Alabama campaign has successfully reached this goal!
Live Well Alabama successfully launched a social media campaign in 2017. In the second year of this campaign, Live Well Alabama has continued to be successful in educating and engaging the target audience across three popular platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
The #FoodFriday recipe videos used Live Well Alabama recipes and garnered strong engagement on Facebook. For example, the Tomato Soup recipe video post alone reached 3,000 people. Live Well Alabama recipe cards were created to accompany the #FoodFriday recipe video series on social media. Click here for the recipe for Tomato Soup. Body Quest Warriors posts on Facebook engaged a larger portion of our target audience.
Statewide Billboard Campaign
Live Well Alabama messages blanketed the state through two billboard campaigns. For 12 weeks, from January through March 2018, 63 billboards in 45 counties displayed each of the three core messages, changing every 4 weeks. A second 12-week campaign ran from April through June 2018 and included 134 billboards in 49 counties.
In FY18, Live Well Alabama billboard messages reached an estimated 674,500 SNAP-eligible adults and made more than 125 million impressions on Alabamians.
SNAP-Ed partnered with Altarum Institute to evaluate the reach and effectiveness of the billboard campaign with a cross-sectional phone survey. They survey included 366 respondents from various Alabama counties. Survey respondents were asked questions about health views and behaviors, and responses were compared between those who were exposed to the billboard campaign.
Survey respondents who were exposed to campaign messages were more likely to take actions toward better health and reported higher intakes of fruits and vegetables and water compared to those who were not exposed to the campaign.
Demographics: Most respondents were female (90%) age 25 to 44 years (74%). Respondents were mainly white (58%) or black/African American (38%). Most (97%) respondents had one or more children in the household. Nearly one-third (31%) of households were headed by a single adult. Nearly half (43%) of respondents had a high school diploma or less. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents participated in one or more assistance programs in the last year. More than half (59%) reported participation in the National School Lunch Program’s free or reduced priced meals for children, and 40% reported participation in SNAP/EBT.
Actions Taken: Respondents who were exposed to the billboard campaign were asked if seeing the messages led them to try something new or do something different for themselves or their families. Common responses:
- Planning healthy meals (32%)
- Eating more fruits and vegetables (37%)
- Buying more fruits and vegetables (31%)
- Drinking more water (38%)
- Drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages (28%)
- Exercising more (20%)
Growing Awareness of the Live Well Alabama Campaign
Overall exposure to billboard messages significantly increased from 38% in FY17 to 51% in FY18. More than one-quarter (29%) of respondents had seen or heard of Live Well Alabama, most commonly through a school or summer program for youth (55%), billboards (30%), handouts and recipe cards provided at educational events (28%), and social media (27%).
Focus Group Testing
A critical component of any social marketing campaign is ensuring that messages and images resonate with the intended target audience. SNAP-Ed partnered with Altarum Institute to conduct a series of focus groups with SNAP-Ed eligible adults in six diverse Alabama counties (Pickens, Lauderdale, Etowah, Cleburne, Marengo, and Houston). In total, 46 eligible adults participated in one of the six focus groups. Attendees were 85% female, 69% black/African American, and 29% white. Most attendees (72%) had at least one child living in the home, and 44% had a high school education or less. More than half (55%) reported that they or other members of their household participated in SNAP/EBT in the past year and 80% participated in at least one federal assistance program in the past year. Through the focus group discussions, SNAP-Ed gained valuable insight into attendees’ attitudes, opinions, and reactions to the messages and graphics designed for year three of the billboard campaign and their potential to elicit behavior change. Responses to new campaign materials were overwhelmingly positive. Suggestions for amending messages and images were considered in finalizing materials for the upcoming cycle to ensure that Live Well Alabama continues to resonate with the target audience.
Alabamians Ready to Make a Change
By conducting a phone survey and six focus groups, Alabama Extension at Auburn University SNAP-Ed gained valuable feedback from Alabamians to shape the future of the Live Well Alabama campaign and provide residents with resources to help them make the changes they are ready to make. While many phone survey respondents were not meeting recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity, the majority were preparing to make a change. Respondents particularly expressed readiness to increase vegetable consumption (65%). In addition, among those exercising three days a week or less, one-third (34%) were preparing to become more physically active. Among focus group attendees, while 61% drank sugary beverages on a regular basis, most attendees (56%) were interested in drinking fewer sweetened beverages. Understanding the barriers Alabamians face to adopting healthier behaviors and knowing where they are ready and interested in making a change is important for providing relevant and effective SNAP-Ed initiatives.
SNAP-Ed is committed to providing multi-level, comprehensive initiatives to help residents overcome barriers to achieving better health.
A Look Into the Future
A long-term goal of SNAP-Ed is to gain insight into audience behavior change by being exposed to Live Well Alabama messaging. Live Well Alabama social marketing is only one component of a comprehensive, multi-level intervention aiming to create change in food, drink, and physical activity choices.
Combining Live Well Alabama messaging with other SNAP-Ed program strategies to create behavior change is a long-term goal toward creating a culture shift in Alabama.
- Live Well in Alabama: FY18 Annual Report
- Live Well in Communities: Positive changes spread across Alabama for a healthier culture.
- Live Well in Communities: Partnership with CDC
- Live Well in Schools: Direct Education moves youth and parents toward better health.
- Awards, Publications, Recognitions, and Presentations