Teens, like adults, are often daunted by the prospect of eating healthier. For the low-income teens who were the target of the Food Bank for New York City’s Change One Thing program, the challenge can be especially intimidating, given that healthier choices are often less accessible and more expensive than junk food. And as research by AMP Agency showed, teenagers also tend to think that healthy living is an all-or-nothing proposition.
To show them that even changing just one aspect of their diet could improve their health—and just as important, that making the one change could be simple—during summer 2012 the Food Bank for New York City created a food truck that it drove throughout the five boroughs to parks, events, and other areas frequented by its low-income target demographic.
But unlike the typical New York food trucks selling ice cream, French fries, and other less-than-healthy foods, the Change One Thing truck gave away frozen fruit pops, sliced apples, bottled water, and recipe booklets. To further entice teens and educate them, the truck’s exterior featured a touch-screen game titled Plate Invaders. As teens waited to play the game, reps from the Food Bank were on hand to chat with them about the recipes and healthier eating in general.
To reinforce the Change One Thing messaging and get the audience excited about seeing the truck, ads appeared in more than 300 kiosks and bus shelters in the zip codes where the target audience lived, complemented by 425 radio PSAs and more than 610,000 geo-targeted mobile streaming radio spots.
After the campaign ended with the beginning of the school year, research showed that half of the teens surveyed said they’d changed their eating behaviors. And while the Food Bank had hoped to reach 175,000 low-income teens, the campaign had actually spread the message to more than 190,000.