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Turnip for Technology

Dear colleagues,

My 15 year-old daughter is hardly the poster child for a healthy lifestyle. She’ll often watch me (not offering to help) unpack grocery bags and put items away in the refrigerator and cupboards, and as the last item finds a spot, she’ll say, “Why didn’t you buy any real food?” She means salty food, sugary food, or fatty food, or, preferably, all three combined.

Yet, she was the one who first showed me Michelle Obama’s latest health promotion initiative.

Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign has strategically and carefully focused attention toward healthy eating and active living for children and families. The First Lady has used a variety of technologies and platforms to reach out to target groups. She’s been on Sesame Street, the Disney Channel, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and countless talk and news shows. But perhaps the most fascinating and most viewed, the viral “Turnip for What?” clip* on the Vine video-sharing app, has all of us in the healthy-eating-active-living-obesity-prevention world reeling.

Six seconds.

That’s all it took for her to convey a whole host of messages that we spend hours trying to effectively deliver to our audiences: Eat vegetables. Eat turnips – they’re cheap and good for you. Be physically active – move, dance, don’t worry about what others think. Enjoy today’s hits, and have fun with it. Enjoy life.

And Mrs. Obama didn’t have to seek out her audiences – they sought her. Millions viewed her Vine within the first 24 hours it was uploaded. FD shared it on our own Live Healthy, Live Well Facebook page.

As a result of that Vine, I have bought turnips twice, at the request of my 15 year-old.

It’s magic when a small investment of effort can yield amazing impact and results. As we prepare to develop our 2015 plans of work, consider how we can use technology to create efficiencies, cleverly send our messages to new audiences, and strategically expand our reach and effectiveness.

Trina Adler Barno, Program Leader — Health and Nutrition Programs

*To unmute the Vine, hover over the upper left corner of the video and click the speaker button.

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