Ad Council, McCann Battle Obesity

WASHINGTON, D.C. The Ad Council and the Department of Health and Human Services launched a new public service campaign targeting obesity.

The campaign, done on a pro-bono basis by New York-based Interpublic Group shop McCann-Erickson, encourages Americans to increase their daily physical activity and to make changes in their diet. In one 30-second spot, “Belly,” two kids are seen playing on the beach. When one kid discovers something unusual, the other asks what it is. “It looks like someone’s belly,” the kid says. “Probably lost it walking on the beach.”

In a second spot, called “Love Handles,” a man is seen turning in two strange objects to the lost and found section. “What are they?” he asks the clerk. “Love handles,” the clerk responds. “A lot of people lose them taking the stairs instead of the escalator.”

The psas, which will air on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox among others, direct viewers to visit a Web site for more information.

“McCann-Erickson donated their talent to create innovative, clever advertising which humorously shows how small steps can go a long way,” said Ad Council president and CEO Peggy Conlon. “I am confident that the campaign will provide Americans with the resources and motivation they need to modify their behaviors and reduce their risks for disease.”

The campaign comes as public advocacy groups have stepped up their pressure on Congress to give the Federal Trade Commission the authority to set nutritional standards for the types of foods that can be marketed to children, and to limit the advertising of high-calorie foods to kids on television, in magazines and in schools. The issue was raised at a hearing before a Senate Commerce subcommittee on the issue of childhood obesity March 2. [Adweek Online, March 2].