Four innovative behavior change campaigns used in health care

This week Redbird Communications gave a behavior change workshop to 17 members of BC’s South Asian community in preparation for a new health promotion campaign about hypertension for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

In the workshop, we gave examples of some innovative uses of behavior change theory and tactics to motivate healthy behavior. Participants gave strategic input and brainstormed campaign ideas to encourage their community to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables, exercise 150 minutes per week, and reduce salt intake. Redbird will now work with those insights to create a ‘custom-made’ campaign to improve the health of Indo-Canadians in BC.

Here are four other innovative behavior change initiatives to inspire your next health promotion campaign.

Change for Life

“Change for Life” is a U.K. health campaign aimed at helping people exercise more. As part of that campaign, they have a fun virtual Walk For Life website.

On the website there are virtual walking challenges to encourage users to exercise more. Users can log onto the website and create a walking challenge or select from other popular challenges. For example, you can sign up your group to walk 10,000 miles for the Prostate Cancer Charity. This is a virtual challenge—so the miles your group walks will be added to those of other participants who have also taken the challenge.

Other fun features include the ability to create your own challenges (such as getting a company to collectively walk the distance of the Great Wall of China). You can also track your progress, miles, and fitness levels. 

Food Hero

Developed for First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Apps for Healthy Kids competition, Food Hero is a virtual game for children. The goal of the game is to become a Food Hero by eating right and completing a set of running, biking and swimming challenges. Eating healthy balanced meals every day helps you build strength. By eating right, you also earn gold, which you can use to buy cool props that help you complete the challenges. If you eat too much, you become sluggish and the sports challenges become harder. 

I Saved a Life

I Saved a Life! is a social web app that allows you to track your blood donations, get reminders for future donations, encourage your friends, and look great doing it. The application is currently in use in over 80 countries around the world.


NextJump’s CEO Charlie Kim wanted his employees to exercise regularly. And so, NextJump installed gyms in their offices and created a custom application that rewarded employees for “checking in” to the gyms. With this campaign, around 12% of the company’s staff began a regular workout schedule.

However, the CEO wasn’t satisfied and so NextJump included gamification into their program. Now their employees could form regionally based teams, check in to workouts, and chart their team’s progress on a leader-board. This had a powerful effect on creating and sustaining a positive behavioral change. With gamification, 70% of NextJump’s employees now regularly work out.

Know of an innovative behavior change campaign you’d like to share? Tweet (@Redbirdcomms) or contact us.

Additional Resources: 

How gamification is changing health promotion campaigns

What health promotion can learn from the science of eccomerce

16 powerful online fundraising tools

Use Google AdWords to increase sign-ups to your health promotion campaign 

How long should a behavioural change campaign be? 

Changing behaviour? Not without your neighbour.  

About Redbird Communications

Redbird Communications is a marketing communications agency in Victoria, British Columbia, that works with non-profits, social enterprises, government ministries and other private and public-sector organizations.

Founded in 2001, we provide research, strategic planning, creative services, and public relations to clients in BC, Ontario, and beyond. Redbird has developed province-wide awareness campaigns, including our most recent ‘Signs of Stroke’ campaign for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon. For that campaign, we helped to raise $250,000 from pharmaceutical sponsors to fund the media buy, and created TV and radio spots, print collateral, and online advertising.