Published on January 21, 2014 | by Caroline Schmitt


LCC students join forces with Newsnight to tackle obesity

The BA Advertising students came up with a high visual campaign [Poster: Linn Wiberg and Zuzana Kvetkova]

The BBC picked first year students from LCC’s BA Advertising course to help produce strategies to tackle the UK obesity crisis for a recent edition of Newsnight.

The programme’s reporter Jim Reed told Arts London News: “We called the uni and asked the first year undergraduate course to help us out that afternoon.”

“To be honest, we expected to get laughed at given the short notice, but about four hours later we turned up to find small groups ready to present an anti-obesity campaign to the British public.”

Teams of students presented different ways of combating obesity for the BBC Two programme, and came up with various advertising strategies to promote a healthier lifestyle.


The National Obesity Forum (NOF) has called for an aggressive approach to obesity that is similar to the anti-smoking ‘shock and disgust’ campaign.

Advertising student and participant Kurt Salih said: “I felt a bit of pressure before the filming, but the reporter asked very clear questions, so my overall experience was really good.”

Jordan Rason, who is also on the advertising course, explained: “Together we created a variation of ideas and with the guidance of our tutor, we chose what we felt was the strongest campaign, ‘Ballooning Britain.’

“The satirical take on the fast food industry with a giant bloated Ronald McDonald worked great for TV” – Jim Reed, Newsnight reporter

“We visualised slogans like, ‘we are lovin’ it too much’ or ‘obesity is no excuse.'”

In 2012, a survey found that over a quarter of adults in England are overweight, a figure that is now set to double within 35 years, according to the NOF.


According to Newsnight, the prediction that half of the UK population will be overweight by 2050 is an “underestimation.”

The students’ strategy was tailored to address the public through television by using effective advertising to urge the government to tackle long-term lifestyle issues, while also encouraging the audience to actively look after their health.

“The satirical take on the fast food industry with a giant bloated Ronald McDonald worked great for TV,” Reed said.

Jo Hodges, LCC course leader of BA Advertising, oversaw the project and stated: “The new dimension to advertising is to look for ways to change behaviour. In the past, [it] has been largely informational, but now people are given tools to change their problems themselves.”


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