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The Great Swapathon - Your questions answered

  • Last modified date:
    6 January 2011
The Great Swapathon

This year's Change4Life activity - the Great Swapathon - campaign was launched on 2 January 2011. The aim of the campaign is to urge families to swap at least one unhealthy habit for a healthier one.

Through the Great Swapathon, families can get access to:

  • a £50 book of vouchers for money off healthier foods and activities;
  • recipes for healthier alternatives to favourite snacks;
  • recipes for family options for each meal time; and
  • nutritional and activity advice.

The following questions and answers provide further information about the Great Swapathon:

How much is the Great Swapathon costing the taxpayer?

Asda, its suppliers and other Change4Life partnershas conributed up to the equivalent of £250 million contribution to the voucher booklet (£50 x 5 million booklets). The final contribution will be dependent on voucher redemption rates.
News of the World are providing significant editorial coverage (for over three weeks) on the campaign as well as providing free distribution of three million voucher booklets. Asda are providing in-store advertising, free distribution of one million voucher booklets and, along with contributing retailers, paying the majority of print costs (estimated at £250K) for the total 5 million voucher booklets being produced.

Is this part of the responsibility deal?

The Great Swapathon is indeed a very good example of what the responsibility deal is all about.
The food, drink and fitness industries together with charities and public health experts have a huge role to play in improving our health. But more than that, we have a collective responsibility to do something about it.

We are really pleased that so many organisations have come together to help families to be a little more healthier by providing a small financial incentive - £50 of vouchers off healthier foods and drink and activities.

We have harnessed the reach of the News of the World’s millions of readers and of the millions of people who shop at Asda. This initiative is a very good example of how small steps by business can encourage small healthy steps for families – without it costing the tax payer a penny.
That’s why we are keen to work with business. It can be quicker to get solutions when we work together.

What is this campaign trying to achieve?

The Great Swapathon is a big idea that encourages everyone to take part. Change4Life and its partners are challenging everyone to try to swap at least one unhealthy habit for a healthier one. We aim to deliver 1 million swaps from unhealthy to healthier lifestyle choices, among families and adults in England.

How does it work?

The Great Swapathon focuses on getting people across the country to swap unhealthy behaviours in food, alcohol and physical activity, to healthier ones.

To help people on their swapping journey we have launched an online tool ‘Your Great Swapathon’ where people are given swaps to follow as well as helpful hints and tips to help them make their healthy swaps.

To make it easier for people to get started, Change4Life has partnered with the News of the World and Asda, where Change4Life is giving away 5 million voucher booklets, worth over £50 each, with money off everyday food, drinks and physical activity. The voucher booklet is being distributed by News of the World, Asda and Change4Life.

Can I get a voucher book if I register for Change4Life?

No. The voucher books are only available via the News of the World, selected Asdas and a large number of local presenters.  New visitors to the Change4Life website/facebook page take part in Your Great Swapathon that is a new online tool that supplies new customers, with personalised swap suggestions - one simple change to try a week, 6 swaps over 6 weeks.  See below for more information.

How much money can you save via the voucher book?

Every voucher booklet offers over £50 of swap vouchers, bursting with fantastic offers including £19 worth of savings at ASDA, over £30 off Weight Watchers online, £5 off footwear at JJB Sports and much more. 

How long is the campaign running for?

The Great Swapathon campaign launched on 2nd January 2011, in line with New Years Resolutions. The voucher booklet will launch on 9th January 2011.

The majority of the vouchers will be valid until 6th February 2011 but some of the vouchers are valid for longer, for example:

  • Weight Watchers voucher valid until 16th April 2011
  • JJB voucher is valid until 28th February 2011

Why have you chosen News of the World and Asda to partner on this activity?

We regularly work with a variety of partners to talk to the public about healthier living.

We undertook an open and fair partnership selection process in August 2010, which included a public invitation to submit a proposal to work with the Department of Health.

We have chosen to work closely with The News of the World and Asda for this particular initiative, as they were able to offer the best value for money to the Department, including free editorial coverage, contribution to the vouchers, existing commercial relationships, and wider promotion of the campaign through their own channels and distribution. The timings were also a key consideration as to which partners were able to work with us, to deliver a January campaign.

We would welcome the opportunity to work with other partners for any future activity.

Who decided what products should be included?

The Department of Health nutrition and physical activity teams have worked closely with partner organisations on the products and services that could be included in the voucher booklet. The products and services that have been included are in line with the published retail guidelines plus others that are part of the proposed retail guidance, on healthier options, that has yet to be signed off from the Secretary of State for Health.

Who paid for the printing of the vouchers?

For those vouchers that are redeemed via Asda, Asda has sought a financial contribution from the manufacturer or their own product department.  These financial contributions have gone towards the development, print and delivery of the voucher booklets.  The remaining balance has been covered by the Department of Health.

How will you know if it works?

We have put in place several measures to understand whether the Great Swapathon is working.

We will be measuring: awareness and understanding of the Great Swapathon messages and activities; impact of the voucher booklet and the digital tool (Your Great Swapathon) on  people’s behaviour; response rates to the different elements of the campaign, such as redemption of vouchers, registration to Change4Life and digital metrics; and local involvement in Great Swapathon activities.

How will you measure behaviour change?

The impact of the Great Swapathon on behaviour will be measured by: analysing voucher redemption and grocery sales data, and by conducting research amongst recipients of the vouchers and users of the digital tool (Your Great Swapathon). 

Who are the partners for this activity?

There are a broad spectrum of partners involved in the Great Swapathon, including media owners, charities, retailers, food manufacturers, physical activity providers, and employers.  In addition, we are working closely with schools, healthcare professionals, local authorities and early years settings, in order to promote the Swapathon beyond the voucher booklet, that encourage swapping for healthy activities such as walking to school, going for a swim, a healthy school lunch , for example.

How have you selected partners to be involved?

All organisations are Change4Life partners, which have signed up to the Terms of Engagement with Change4Life.

How can you become a Change4Life partner?

There are two types of partners:

  • National Partner -  national commercial organisation or national non-government organisation
  • Local Supporter -  local individual or organisation

Both types of partners need to register on the Change4Life website and agree to the campaign Terms of Engagment.

What was the criteria for selecting the various products to include in the voucher book?

We have selected products for discounts based on their suitability for a healthy swap – which can help people on their way to making small manageable changes to improve their overall diet and lifestyles. They are also affordable and everyday food  items for our target audience.

Isn’t it inappropriate for [x companies] to fund a project trying to encourage the public to eat more healthily?

The objective of the Change4Life initiative is to work in partnership with a range of  organisations including retailers, manufacturers, physical activity providers and media owners,  to help to address the obesity issue in the country. We work with our partners’ who bring immense knowledge of their consumers and their behaviour, marketing reach, research and insight, we are able to work in conjunction with the industry, to make it easier for people to make healthier choices. 

How much influence do these companies have on the messages of the campaign?

We work in partnership with organisations, but stay true to what Change4Life is about – eating well, moving more and living longer.

How much influence do these companies have on the messages of the campaign?
We work in partnership with organisations, but stay true to what Change4Life is about – eating well, moving more and living longer.

Partners are required to develop activity in line with the Department’s brand and retail guidance and such activity is approved by the Department.

Change4Life would not communicate messages that are not in line with our core purpose to encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle. 

When visitors go to the Change4Life website, what can they do there?

During the length of the campaign we will be inviting consumers to take part online in the Your Great Swapathon.  Your Great Swapathon is  our exciting new online tool designed to give individuals or families a boost to try new healthy swaps. The tool has two simple online questionnaires one for families and one for adults.  Upon completion of either of the questionnaires, consumers will receive personalised swap suggestions - just one simple change to try a week, 6 swaps over 6 weeks.  The first swap will be delivered on the website with subsequent swaps to be delivered via email. Emails will be full of tips and suggestions to support people make their healthy change.  In additional to email we will also be sending out small swap tips and reminders via SMS (if persmission has been given).

In addition to the information and advice supplied by Change4Life we are also setting up a Swapathon community which allows people to share their own tips and experiences.

The tool will be available via the Change4life website and the Change4Life Facebook Page.

Can partners use the tool on their websites?

Yes.  We are encouraging as many partners and supporters of Change4Life to embed the Your Great Swapathon tool on their web channels. This does require some basic technical knowledge and we are developing a user guide to support web teams. 
If it is not possible to embed the tool then we encourage supporters to promote and link to our content in the normal way.

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