Food Pyramid To Get PR Makeover

The Food Guide Pyramid, a staple in Americans’ nutritional vocabulary since 1992, is getting a new look—and possibly a new shape—with the help of the agency that helped create it.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, in the midst of updating its nutrition guidelines, last week tapped Omnicom Group’s Porter Novelli to help package the new info. PN will redesign the pyramid graphic, devise a slogan (none is currently used) and craft educational materials targeted at professionals and consumers. The shop will also develop online, print and collateral materials.

The revised system will debut early next year.

The shop was chosen over WPP Group’s Hill & Knowlton and Omnicom’s Fleishman-Hillard for “the technical merits of its proposal,” said Jackie Haven, a rep for the USDA in Alexandria, Va. PN’s Washington, D.C., office will take the lead on the account, worth $1.6 million for the first year of the three-year contract.

After naming PN, the USDA opened a 45-day period for public feedback. “[PN] will be using all those comments,” said Haven. Whether to stick with the pyramid is “one of the things we’re looking for comments on,” she said. “We don’t have predisposed notions.”

The effort is an attempt to motivate Americans to make healthier choices, according to the USDA’s federal register of proposed changes.

“In light of obesity concerns,” said Rob Gould, general manager of PN’s D.C. office, “nothing could be more important than having a terrific, research-driven communications tool to help.”