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from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2004  

VERB Is What You Do

Well, it's aimed at kids 9-13, but who says they get to have all the fun? The Center for Disease Control has a hugely popular Ad-ucational program going meant to instill active habits in U.S. youngsters. Studies show that nearly a third of the targeted age group who live in regions where the campaign is running are aware of the program, understand the message.

What's not to understand? "Move. It's good for you." We all know this, have always known it. Many of us, though, have transmogrified the message into "Move. Or You'll Die." Or "Move. It's a necessary evil." Or "Move. It has been shown in some subjects to mitigate the long-term effects of living."

There's good marketing, and there's bad marketing. Anyone in the business will tell you that the negative message is the hard sell, must be handled with care, often backfires. If you want to move people to act or change their behavior, go for the positive brand associations: "Move: It's Fun!!!"

And that's how the VERB campaign works. It's reminding kids and parents of kids how to have fun again. Not preachy, not prescriptive, these ebullient ads and websites (, make you want to go outside and play. And stay inside and play. And play with your kids. And take up skateboarding. And try a three-legged race. And recall how to play four-square. And remember that skipping rope used to keep you occupied for hours. And how tag was IT. And kick the can, and hop-skotch. It shows kids some basic yoga moves, sticking techniques for hockey, helps parents find rails-to-trails, beaches, and parks near them.

Ah, Play! Fun! It's in the upper 40s here in Michigan, and the sun has been shining brightly for days, melting ice and snow, revealing our walking and bike paths. And underdressed, overeager, we're out in it, in shorts, with convertible tops down. (Michiganders who drive convertibles are staunch optimists, and deserve a wave and a smile at this or any time of year.)

One broken hole in the ice on the little lake near my home brought down rafts of waterfowl. My beloved Buffleheads, Redheads, Goldeneyes, and Mute Swans. Birders hiked down to the docs, up over rocks, maneuvering woods and beaches with their binocs to get a better look, and counted them off for me as I passed by, headed for the beach where ice floes had yet to break free and tumble into Lake Michigan. Horizon lovers were roaming the beach, taking in the wind and sun and remarking on the powerful landscape sculpting winter wind and ice performs on our beaches. Runners have begun training for the big local race in May. Helmeted kids leave fat bike tire tracks in the last of the sun-sparkling slush. I watched a kid shovel the heavy snowmelt from his family driveway so he could shoot hoops with his gloves and hat on. Poop patrol is underway in yards everywhere, hunting down a winter's worth of Fido's deposits. Bikes, trikes, strollers, and skates came clanking and squeaking out into the sunshine. And my irises are poking up, making my pruning hand itch.

It's time to VERB. Pick your pleasure. Keep it fun. All it has to be is action. If you like it, you're more likely to keep it up. Fun is fun for fun's sake. We all need it. (And yes, of course, it's good for you, will help you lose or control your weight.)

So, what'll it be, friend? A hoop, a bike, skates, garden shears this year? Pick an active hobby, and Move. It's fun.

About the CDC campaign

The site for kids

The site for parents

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posted by Julie |
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