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Walmart Canada helps Half Your Plate campaign move from social into retail stores

Walmart Canada is joining Half Your Plate, a healthy eating campaign sponsored by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, paving the way for a successful social media campaign to move onto produce packaging and into retail locations across Canada.

The campaign, which asks shoppers to fill half their carts with fruits and vegetables, will be promoted inside Walmart stores and on flyers. It is an example of how social media can be leveraged to drive consumer engagement in important health issues such as eating better.

?It's a great initiative for Walmart to be associated with as it promotes healthy eating,? said Sheryl Kingstone, Toronto-based research director, Yankee Group. ?However, if they want to capture the attention of tweens and teens, Walmart should help the organization move beyond social and Web to support mobile.

?There are plenty of creative ways to leverage the half your plate theme beyond packaging in the stores such as mobile dedicated content, integrated mobile services and gamification to encourage participation,? she said.

Social media
The CPMA?s campaign that ran this summer included a Web site and social media on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Linking to healthy-eating tips.

The home page had links to a daily-servings guide and produce-related eating tips and recipes, emphasizing the healthy benefits of fruit and vegetables.

"Social media is a great fit for important caused-based campaigns like this,? said Yoni Solomon of Chicago-based Vibes.  ?When you're trying to spread message, there's perhaps no greater (and natural) medium than social media. 

?What I've always liked about social media is that it encourages sharing and evangelism,? he said. ?When a community becomes passionate about a movement or a message, social media instantly becomes that vehicle to help people easily spread the message to others. And that's what I think will happen here.?
Having a leading company like Walmart back Half Your Plate provides the initiative with an instantly recognizable brand and an incredible amount of impressions ? especially when promoting Half Your Plate in-store and online, Mr. Solomon said. 

The campaign targets a deficiency in Canada in individual produce consumption.
The average Canadian consumes just 3.5 to 4.5 servings of produce per day, below the 7 to 10 servings per day, depending on gender, recommended by Canada?s Food Guide.

Leveraging social to drive consumer engagement.

CPMA is an Ottawa-based not-for-profit organization representing more than 700 international and Canadian companies that are active in the marketing of fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada, including growers, shippers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, retailers and foodservice distributors.

For Walmart, the move comes as the world?s largest retailer steps up investment in digital and ecommerce initiatives, including mobile.

Walmart Stores president and CEO Doug McMillion recently told the company?s annual investor meeting that it will invest more in building its ecommerce offerings going forward and less in new stores. 

Family and friends
The critical role of mobile was exemplified by the announcement of InstaWatch from Walmart, which enables smartphone users to scan a receipt using the Savings Cather app to stream the digital copy of the physical movie DVDs they purchase in-store or online.

Teaching Canadians healthy eating habits.

"Not only will some consumers fill half their plate, they likely will share their pursuits while in store on social networks reachable via mobile,? said Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize, of the campaign?s use of social media. ?Just like wearables, this program relies on family and friends displaying creativity and a healthier lifestyle through pictures and other user-generated content.

"We will be more interested because our friends and loved ones are taking better care of themselves,? he said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.