When schools let out for the summer, many of Florida’s low-income students lose access to potentially the only balanced meals they get each day. While the federal government has funded the Summer Food Service Program for years, awareness among at-risk families has been perennially low, despite the best efforts of advocates like Florida Impact. Worse, the whole program can carry stigma that discourages those who need the nutrition most from benefitting.
Rebrand the Summer Food Service Program as “the place” all kids can go for good food in the summer. We helped Florida Impact boost participation through a pilot program in Dade County. We created “Summer BreakSpot,” a new brand platform that used the power and reach of advertising, new technology and social media to reframe a dated government program as a great place for healthy food. Kicking off with a high-profile event featuring former NBA All-Star and Miami Heat VP Alonzo Mourning, the Miami Heat dancers and other local celebrities, Summer BreakSpot won features on all of Miami’s major broadcast stations and the primary newspaper. Bus stop posters and signage at every Dade County WalMart included QR codes that allowed parents and young people to find the BreakSpot nearest them. Referrals were also secured through the state’s 211 line. In additional to TV and radio spots, the campaign leveraged opportunities ranging from Miami Heat game announcements to plugs from mommy bloggers to build awareness of Summer BreakSpot as the best place for healthy meals.
Since the statewide launch of Summer BreakSpot in 2011, statewide participation in the federal meal program has increased more than 40%. During summer 2015, the program served over 15 million meals to children throughout the state — 15% increase from 2014.