Background: LiveLighter® is a healthy weight and lifestyle social marketing campaign developed and launched in Western Australia (WA) in 2012. Recent consecutive campaign phases (Aug-Oct 2019, Feb-Mar 2020, Aug-Sep 2020) explained the link between excess body fat and increased risk of 13 cancers and aimed to motivate WA adults to avoid sugary drinks to reduce their cancer risk. The emergence of COVID-19 saw the second ‘13 Cancers’ wave conclude early and evaluation surveys for the latter two waves coincide with varying levels of COVID-19 restrictions. Evaluation assessed campaign awareness, response, and impact with consideration of the potential effect of the pandemic.
Methods: Cross-sectional telephone surveys were undertaken with population samples of WA adults aged 25-49 prior to the launch of LiveLighter® (2012: n=1,003) and following each campaign phase (2012-2020: n=501-3,507). Multivariable logistic regression models tested differences in key outcomes by campaign phase.
Results: Despite diminished ability to infiltrate competing media content at the second ‘13 Cancers’ wave compared to previous campaign phases, campaign awareness was high following all ‘13 Cancers’ waves with non-TV media playing a key role. Key advertising diagnostics were favourable overall, though there was evidence of heightened public sensitivity during the pandemic with increased discomfort and guilt in response to the campaign. While intentions to consume less sugary drinks and sweet foods declined at the second wave, findings suggested some recovery following the third wave. Increases in sugary drinks and sweet foods consumption were observed during this period of lifestyle disruption, along with support for sugary drinks taxes.
Conclusions: Findings highlight potential challenges and opportunities of airing a public health campaign during periods of lifestyle disruption. While there is a need to carefully consider message content and placement, there is a need, as well as desire, for extra support to enable adoption and maintenance of healthy behaviours.