Nickelodeon Gets 1.7 Million Kids off the Couch
One afternoon each year, on Worldwide Day of Play, Nickelodeon and its sister networks go dark, turning off programming to demonstrate the importance of addressing childhood obesity. When the network decided to turn the event into its biggest-ever celebration of active play, it partnered with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and committed its resources to help get one million children to participate in the President’s Active Lifestyle Award Challenge.
Nickelodeon launched a summer-long multimedia and grassroots campaign designed to ignite local Worldwide Days of Play in communities everywhere, and it all began with a giant field day in Washington, D.C., at the 900,000-square-foot Ellipse, just south of the White House—a spot chosen for its visibility to policymakers and accessibility to the public. Fifty leading sports organizations and nonprofits, including NFL Play 60, MLB, the PGA and the National Parks Service hosted physical activities and games. Nickelodeon stars signed autographs and posed for photos with kids; all-star athletes LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and others played hoops with attendees; and the day culminated with a concert by Nickelodeon recording artists Big Time Rush. Even Michelle Obama joined the festivities and completed the Nick obstacle course. Nickelodeon covered the event live, and the network mobilized every division of the company to promote it.
More than 50,000 kids and their families attended the kickoff event in Washington, and more than 1.7 million participated in the PALA Challenge. The initiative inspired more than 5,000 grassroots Day of Play events across the country and generated coverage by more than 100 broadcast, print and online media outlets including USA Today, CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post. It was the biggest event in the campaign’s history.