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Fat-fighting campaign ‘waste of money’ claims rebuffed

A health expert has been quoted as saying the government’s ‘Swap It Don’t Stop It’ anti-obesity campaign – created by JWT Melbourne – was a ‘waste of taxpayer money’ and should be scrapped.

But the article in The Sunday Telegraph misquoted her and also got the campaign budget wrong, a university lecturer and the client, the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, have told Mumbrella.

University of NSW health program convener Anne Bunde-Birouste was also quoted as saying that the campaign was of “no real benefit to the community”.

She told Mumbrella: “What I meant was that, in isolation, the marketing campaign might be ineffective – without a holistic approach that includes education and community support.”

The campaign, launched in March, uses a balloon character called Eric to encourage Australians to do more excercise and cut down the amount they eat.

A spokesman from the Australian National Preventive Health Agency said that the evaluation phase for the ‘Measure Up’ campaign was underway, but said it was “too early” to gauge its effectiveness.

The client added that the $872m figure quoted for the ‘six year’ campaign was incorrectly linked to marketing spend, and instead referred to the national program for preventive health.

Marketing spend on the ‘Measure Up’ campaign is estimated at $100m over 4 years.

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