The action and its aims
New York City ran a series of shock-provoking advertising campaigns on public transport called ‘Pouring on the fat’, which aimed to build understanding that excess calories consumed are stored as fat. The first ads, to raise awareness of sugar content in soft drinks, featured a man pouring, then drinking, a cup of fat.
When it was introduced
The campaign first ran for three months in 2009. It was followed up in 2013-14 and 2015 with new adverts targeting children’s consumption, with a specific focus on sugar content of fruity beverages, which many people believe to be a healthy option.
Why it was needed
The campaign was considered necessary because of high consumption of sugary drinks in the city, which has an impact on diet-related ill health, such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, and tooth decay.
Who initiated it, who is involved
The campaign was run by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Adverts were designed by agency Bandujo. The cost of the subway advertising space was covered by the Fund for Public Health in New York, a non-profit organisation that exists to connect the city with public and private sector partners for health promotion.
Impacts to date
The action is one of several strategies to reduce sugary drink consumption that have been implemented in New York. The cumulative impact was a steady decline in the number of New Yorkers drinking one or more sugary drink a day between 2007 and 2013. From 2013, however, the impact has stagnated and consumption remains highest among Black and Latino residents.