Background: The LiveLighter “Sugary Drinks” campaign, launched July 2013 in WA, graphically depicts visceral fat around vital organs and focuses on the contribution of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption to the development of toxic fat and ultimately disease.
Aim: To evaluate recall and response to the campaign and determine the population impact on beliefs, intentions and behaviour with regard to consumption of SSB. Also, to monitor potential unintended consequences of the campaign.
Methods: A cohort design with a pre-campaign telephone survey of a representative sample of WA adults aged 25-49 (N=1,504), repeated following the launch (N=822) and two months later (N=557). Multivariate logistic regression models accounting for repeated measures were tested.
Results: Campaign awareness of 70% (including 33% top-of-mind recall) was maintained despite reduced TARPs (1,138 to 468). Obese adults were more likely to be aware of the ad (80% cf. 64%), and overweight or obese adults to perceive it as self-relevant (67% cf. 29%), report a negative emotional response (44% cf. 26%) and rate it higher on measures of perceived effectiveness. The campaign was associated with increased awareness of the health consequences of excess consumption of SSB (67% cf. 88%). Despite no evidence of increased intentions to reduce consumption, there was evidence of reduced SSB intake among overweight respondents (54% cf. 47%). There was no increase in endorsement of stereotypes of overweight individuals.
Conclusions: Population reach compares favourably with other obesity prevention campaigns locally and internationally. The campaign performed well on outcomes previously associated with health-related intention and behaviour change, particularly among those most at risk of weight-related health problems. Further evidence that the campaign reached and resonated with the target group is found in greater campaign awareness among obese adults and reduced intake of SSB among those overweight or obese. The campaign did not unintentionally stigmatise overweight people.