No more sugarcoating.

The American Heart Association seized an opportunity to reduce the amount of sugar in our diets when the Cook County Board President proposed a tax on sugary beverages. Our persuasive marketing campaign helped compel county commissioners to vote favorably. It also motivated the beverage industry to fight back hard, and the tax was eventually repealed – but not before we got its attention.

American Heart Association advertisement

The Challenge

Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in the American diet, and medical studies link them to chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. Research shows that taxes on sugary beverages in other jurisdictions have led to a reduction in the number of sugary beverages people consume.

Residents in Cook County’s most vulnerable communities experience high rates of chronic diseases that The American Heart Association links to overconsumption of sugary drinks. So, the AHA called on Grisko just weeks before the vote to create a persuasive campaign that would build support for the Cook County proposal.

 

A Sweeter Summer

As the Cook County sugary beverage tax began, this spot was created as a reminder about healthy hydration options at the start of the summer season.

Our Solution

With little time, Grisko developed a message-driven campaign to communicate AHA’s position on the benefits of a sugary beverage tax and to encourage Cook County commissioners to rise above the deep pockets of the beverage industry.

To further support the commissioners and provide cover among their constituents, we also crafted a holistic communications strategy that included 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.

One Small Change

This short film was part of a campaign to persuade Cook County residents to start thinking differently about their relationship with sugary beverages, as the American Heart Association supported the passage of the sugary beverage tax. Our goal was to capture authentic stories from Cook County residents about the changes they’ve made for themselves and their families regarding sugary drinks as a compelling way to communicate the message of One Small Change.

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American Heart Association advertisement American Heart Association advertisement
American Heart Association advertisement
American Heart Association advertisement American Heart Association advertisement
american heart association marketing advertising public relations affairs
american heart association marketing advertising public relations affairs
american heart association marketing advertising public relations affairs
american heart association marketing advertising public relations affairs
american heart association marketing advertising public relations affairs
american heart association marketing advertising public relations affairs
american heart association marketing advertising public relations affairs

Impact

Pointed messaging and 30 million strategically targeted paid media impressions over four weeks helped persuade the Cook County Board.

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.

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american heart association public relations affairs
american heart association public relations affairs
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With a very limited timeline, Grisko quickly developed an effective campaign that perfectly captured our cause and aligned with what we were trying to accomplish. Their strategy and execution held strong against the opposition’s deep wallets and was a major component in achieving our goal, albeit temporarily, of passing the sugary beverage tax in Cook County.

Julia Kersey, Senior Director of Communications, American Heart Association

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