Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in the American diet and medical studies link them to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Convincing people to cut back or eliminate these drinks from their diet is not easy; however, taxes on sugary beverages have proven successful in decreasing consumption.
The American Heart Association (AHA) supports policies to reduce consumption, so when Cook County proposed a sugary beverage tax, AHA called on Grisko just weeks before the vote to create a persuasive campaign that would build support for the proposal.
Residents in Cook County’s most vulnerable communities experience catastrophic rates of chronic diseases that the AHA links to overconsumption of sugary drinks.
To improve the health of community members and reduce the burden on all county taxpayers who are ultimately “on the hook” for costs associated with chronic disease, it was time to stop sugarcoating the facts!
Grisko developed compelling and educational message-driven designs to communicate AHA’s position on the benefits of a sugary beverage tax and to encourage support among Cook County commissioners and their constituents. We also crafted a holistic communications strategy, including a targeted multi-channel media plan, public relations strategy and social media editorial calendar to reach targeted audiences with the right message at the right time.
The impactful four-week campaign, which garnered 30 million paid media impressions, helped galvanize support for the tax and received widespread earned media coverage in Chicago and around the nation.
Despite strong and well-funded opposition, Cook County passed a one-penny-per-ounce sugary beverage tax, becoming the largest county in the nation to do so.