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App That: Government Of Alberta Makes Healthy Eating More Than Kids A Game

HealthyUAs the Government of Alberta was looking for ways to engage citizens and help education kids about the benefits of healthy eating they turned to DDB Canada to develop an innovative way to aspire and engage youth.  The new initiative is part of The Government of Alberta’s province-wide program, titled the Healthy U 5&1 Experiment which helps families adopt wholesome habits by adding at least five servings of fruit and vegetables, and an hour of activity into each day.

So how do you make healthy eating and active living fun for kids? By challenging them to try exciting activities such as turning their urine into bug repellent, holding an armpit smelling contest and inviting them to eat as many carrots as they can in hopes of achieving laser vision.

“The creative plot boils down to getting kids to take part in 42 off-the-wall, wacky and weird scientific experiments that can make even the pickiest child eat broccoli,” says Eva Polis, creative director, DDB Canada’s Edmonton office. “It is much easier to convince kids to do something when you create an environment where they come to that conclusion on their own.”

The campaign was developed by DDB Canada’s Edmonton office, the Healthy U 5&1 Experiment presents a 21-day challenge that invites kids and their parents to complete 42 novel experiments.  Hosted on and free mobile app (for Apple and Android users), the provincial program features two daily experiments, one focusing on trying nutritious foods and the other encouraging physical activity. Children can earn awards and track their progress, furthering the incentive to turn these daily experiments into a lifestyle-changing habit. The program’s content targets children between the ages of six and 12, but kids are encouraged to sign up with their parents so they can begin this new healthy lifestyle as a family.

The initiative kicked off earlier in May with a week-long tour of schools in Alberta that saw Healthy U host school rallies for more than 2,000 students.  Associate Minister of Wellness Dave Rodney and popular YTV personality Andy Chapman co-hosted the rallies, together with the Healthy U Crew, an energetic street team. HealthyUContinuing this grassroots engagement, the Healthy U Crew will extend this campaign by travelling across Alberta in a can’t-be-missed van, visiting 27 more schools in May and June, connecting with an estimated 7,500 students.  The crew will also visit 40 communities in Alberta this summer, attending events including the Calgary Stampede, Edmonton’s K-Days, the St. Albert International Children’s Festival, and the Medicine Hat Spectrum Festival, inviting kids to ‘experiment’ with healthy living in all sorts of crazy fun ways.  The crew will also hand out sample kits featuring 10 experiments to try.

Online, radio and transit advertising as well as in-store point of purchase at Sobeys round out this integrated campaign by driving families to the Healthy U website. The sponsorship secured with Sobeys creates an added motivation to this program as families who have signed up are given grocery coupons to reduce the costs associated with their weekly experiments. Furthermore, a partnership with YTV supports this initiative via a web series featuring two of the station’s animated superstars – Dr. Frantic and Kerblooey.