Sugar: The Great Health Debate
March 17, 2016
Bethany Dame, Vice President, Client Relations
From recommendations to limit sugar intake by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to consistent accusations of being the sole villain of the public health debate, the sugar industry has taken a lot of heat, and headlines, in recent months. Analyzing the online conversation about sugar in the United States in the month of January, we set out to explore how the sugar industry is fighting back.
What we found surprised us.
The sugar industry and its supporters have the unique opportunity to play an active role in the online conversation—a much more substantive role than they currently are playing.
As our data shows, the most active, passionate, anti-sugar proponents are not the most influential tweeters—news outlets are. The goal is not to drown out the loudest voices in the room by being louder, but to ensure the industry and its supporters are providing a balance to the conversation. Turning the other cheek and staying silent in these conversations only amplifies the opposition’s messaging—it is critical that industry proponents speak up.
Through a robust digital campaign, in conjunction with a comprehensive earned media strategy, the industry can generate positive conversation and fill the messaging void. Sponsored content, values-based messaging, issue education, and targeted advertising can engage brand loyalists and other like-minded advocates to work to change perceptions of sugar.