Connecting to the youth of America means reaching them online. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created the VERB campaign to encourage kids to exercise in a fun and lasting way.
What is VERB? (from their site)
VERB YELLOWBALL is a big, bouncy, world-changing idea that was created to spread play to every kid in America.
Here´s the deal. We´re scattering thousands of yellow balls all across the country. It´s up to you to find one, play with it, and most importantly, pass it on.
FIND ONE. Someone is bound to pass one to you. Can´t wait? Check out our "Pass It On" section.
PLAY WITH IT. However you want. Whenever you want. Just play.
WHEN YOU’RE DONE, ENTER THE CODE ON THE BALL AND BLOG YOUR STORY TO THE WORLD.
PASS IT ON. To a friend, or a kid you don´t even know. Pass it as far as you want. If you´re going on a trip, bring it with you. Remember, this is a revolution. And you are the messenger.
I’ve been seeing the commercials online for several years now and I have to say I’ve long been a fan of the initiative. However, when my 8-year-old daughter sent me a video she had mashed together on the VERB site I was intrigued. Here’s the video she created: VERB Yellowball Video
The site also boasts a few other features that are particularly interesting to the 6-12 year old audience (which is, incidentally, when many of our exercise habits are created):
Kids can blog their own stories and read other stories about having fun outdoors.
Hillary Duff is a popular gal to this age group. She has a bunch of Yellowball pics and a YB blog (which sadly, today, is pointing to a bad url). Tommy and Tara (of CartoonNetwork fame) also lent their support to the campaign.
Of course, while the site is interested in bringing readers off the computer, there are a few games on there to keep their interest tuned towards the VERB mission. They’ve also got PlayLibs (MadLibs), kid jokes, paper airplanes to print, polls and e-cards, all designed with the theme in mind.
The story is fun, the initiative is great and the result is a well designed site that connects kids and encourages them to follow the mission of the product. While they’re not ‘selling’ a product, they are selling an idea and they’re doing it in a way that appears to be working. I’ll close with their Alexa graph: