When Marketing Steps Up: The National Steps Challenge™

November 17, 2015

In over 8 years working with the Health Promotion Board, DDB understood one thing: Great marketing isn’t just about what you ‘tell’ consumers anymore, it’s about how you help consumers take to a behavioural change.

Welcome to the New Marketing of ‘Do, Feel, Think’.


In the fight against obesity, the Health Promotion Board wanted to get busy, over-worked yet sedentary Singaporeans to get active and exercise a lot more. 43% of Singapore’s workforce sits at least 8 hours a day. Some 39% of the workforce do not meet guidelines of at least 150 mins moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week.

It would have been novel to create a new ‘Great Singapore Workout’ (like Japan did with rajio tais? ?????, or radio calisthenics), or even a new, trendy Pilates routine.

But then we realize it’s more effective to fit exercise in the life of everyday Singaporeans than to create a new practice.

Erosion is more effective than explosion, as Hugh McKay advocated.

Almost everyone takes steps every day – at home, at work, to lunch, or to shop. Now, we just want people to take enough steps in a day to make for a healthy routine: 10,000 steps a day, to be exact.

The idea: The National Steps Challenge™, encourages Singaporeans to take 10,000 steps a day and even offers to reward you for doing so. It positively enshrines the idea of 10,000 Steps and gets Singaporeans to Step Up!

To help participants keep track of their daily step count, HPB equips each registrant with a Steps Tracker. Similar to a FitBit or JawBone, it has a tangible effect to get people counting and measuring. We don’t just tell, we equip people with things they can ‘do’.

All they need to sync their Steps Tracker with Healthy 365 app at least once every 7 days to update their steps count, earn points and track calories as they take steps every day.

Then, we showed them how fun and rewarding Stepping Up can be. We created a video to show that clocking steps can be done in fun and unique ways. Participants may be rewarded for their steps with great prizes from attractive vouchers to a dream holiday worth $10,000.



Finally, we encouraged people to take more steps – from where they were. From the way they commute to work (take the stairs, not the escalators), to the way they go for lunch (take the long walk to and back from lunch) and to adding more steps to their weekend walks. Behavioural economics at its best: Fit the change around people’s lives.

Over 35,000 signed up in just 4 days. Online conversations came alive with novel ways to step up and lots of enthusiasm. Companies began to advocate this for staff. We’re starting a walking revolution.

This is how Marketing steps up to get consumers doing, interacting and living it.

Join the fun at http://stepschallenge.sg.

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