Healthy PR helps kick the habit

New Year is a time for resolutions. But let’s face it, going cold turkey on bad habits or changing your life with big aspirations - at the most depressing time of the year - is... well... hard. 

For all the good intent, it is only a week or two later that the majority of us start to wobble or worse. So let’s hope the Department of Health’s latest brainwave has more staying power. 

Freud PR has been handed a £1million deal to run all Whitehall health drives. Distinct strands of public health work - such as obesity and smoking – will now be brought into a single campaign. 

We’re told the move will increase efficiency by streamlining all communications, but some worry it will mean less grassroots PR at a regional level (perhaps where it could be most powerful). Others have voiced concern that the agency also lists several fast and snack food producers among its clients - Pepsi, KFC and Walkers Crisps for example. 

The reality is, the general public is bombarded with billions of pounds worth of advertising for unhealthy products, so there is a real need to fight back with education campaigns – and we believe Freud did this well in its handling of the anti-obesity Change4Life campaign. So well done to them for increasing their workload. 

There are also numerous conflicting health messages appearing almost daily in the media, so it is little wonder surveys show the public feels confused and distrusting of such ‘advice’. The danger is that those in most need of help and support are not being reached. 

So while the Government expects everyone to look after their own health better, people expect the NHS to be there when things go wrong. The DH spends big bucks trying to prevent problems through a range of communications, yet many feel affronted if it is suggested they should change their lifestyle, so they choose to ignore wise words. 

To make public health campaigns work it takes a local, regional thrust and we hope that Freud PR puts as much resources into regional PR as they do national. 

Ps – good luck with your new year resolutions!

Kay Williamson