The Countryside Agency and British Health Foundation are to launch
a fresh PR push in their joint healthy living campaign, called Walking
the Way to Health.
The second phase of the initiative, which started last year, will be
launched in Spring 2002 in a further attempt to stamp out heart disease
by encouraging those in urban areas and leading a sedentary life to walk
Birmingham-based agency Barkers PR has been handed the UK-wide media
promotions brief for this latest PR push, called the Step-o-meter
The Midlands and the north of England are highlighted by BHF research as
regions of particular concern in terms of heart disease.
Barkers was appointed after a four-way pitch and will be responsible for
all launch PR, as well as overseeing the distribution of 50,000
hand-held electronic step-o-meters to the public via the national and
'By using the step-o-meters, they will be able to measure just how far
they walk in daily life,' said Barkers MD Dianne Page.
The walks are planned for local routes such as along canal paths and
'We have a dotted line relationship with the in-house PR teams at the CA
and BHF, but we shall, in the main, be working on our own initiative,'
Page, who leads a three-strong team, reports to CA project officer Mitch
'Though a national campaign, the Midlands and northern England will see
a more intense PR campaign as statistics show heart disease is more
prevalent in these areas,' said Counsel.
'Step-o-meters are presently viewed as scientific instruments and not
aids to a better health and lifestyle. Barkers' job will be to give
these instruments street cred and help raise public motivation,' he