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They Learn from Watching You

| Michigan


The Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF) has conducted the "They learn from watching you..." social marketing campaign since 2006 to expand and enhance on-the-ground SNAP-Ed. The campaign reaches low-income families. It is based on the USDA’s core messages to increase fruit and vegetable consumption (Eat more fruits and veggies and they will too) and physical activity (Be active and your kids will too) of children and their families.

bill boards that say "eat more fruits and veggies" and "be active"

Campaign Impact

In 2012, those who saw MFF social marketing were significantly more likely than respondents who did not see the social marketing to report readiness to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity (per the Stages of Change Model).

Multi-level Components

In 2013, MFF added new, multi-level components to the "They learn from watching you..." social marketing campaign. The components are outlined below.

School-based nutrition education and taste tests

Education and taste tests were conducted in 148 USDA Michigan Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program schools. This component included curriculum tie-ins for teachers, physical activity suggestions, and a parent take home newsletter, exposing 80,000 students and parents to different fruits and vegetables each month.

Michigan Harvest of the Month grocery store promotion

Nine stores showcased preparation, taste, and benefits of the same fruits and vegetable promoted in schools. Twenty-seven percent of shoppers surveyed bought vegetables that they had not previously intended to purchase. Fifty percent remembered the demonstration. Store directors/managers stated that their customers responded positively to the promotions.

Billboards and bus wraps

Billboards and bus wraps had the following messages: They learn from watching you: Eat more fruits and veggies and they will too and They learn from watching you: Be active and your kids will too. The messages were displayed from May-August, 2013 in 12 Michigan counties with the highest SNAP participation.

Private-sector partnership

The Lansing Lugnuts, a minor-league baseball team, produced a video public service announcement (PSA) using the same core messaging. The PSA features Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor and his family, and will be played at every 2014 Lugnuts home game, achieving an additional estimated 330,000 eyes-on impressions, at no additional cost.

Another example of partnerships and social marketing integration is Michigan’s Produce for Pantries, a collaboration between MFF, Maryland Department of Education's Food Distribution Unit, local food producers, emergency food providers, and communities of faith. The pilot initiative promotes increased fruit and vegetable consumption among emergency food recipients through increased access to fresh produce (environmental change); onsite They Learn from Watching You social marketing (environmental change/social marketing); and onsite Michigan Harvest of the Month nutrition education (systems change/direct and indirect nutrition education).


Without a doubt, the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework’s MT12 indicator will be a great resource for evaluating Michigan’s campaign.

This article was written and submitted by the Michigan Fitness Foundation. For further information please contact Marci Scott, PhD, RDN, Michigan Fitness Foundation. All logos are used with permission.

Evaluation Framework Indicators