Objective: The PLAY campaign from the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) was founded in 2004 to combat childhood obesity using educational events, but this year's seasonal campaign added steroid prevention to the message. "As health professionals, as athletic trainers, part of that message is to provide healthy and fit lifestyles to ballplayers, and the general community," said Richie Bancells, president of PBATS and head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Orioles.
Idea: From June through September, PBATS will invite up to 200 children, ages 8 to 18, to each of the 30 Major League Baseball stadiums on game day mornings to learn about healthy lifestyles and steroid prevention, said Chris Daley, account executive for Maroon PR, which represents PBATS. Trainers, players, and representatives from partner organizations, like the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, lead discussions about injury prevention, nutrition, and the effects of steroid abuse, as well as a Q&A with players. The goal is for children to take what they learn at the event and bring that knowledge back to their neighborhoods and families, Bancells added.
Tools: At the morning event, each child, along with a player, can sign a pledge card, promising to live healthy lifestyles and avoid performance-enhancing drugs like steroids. In addition, a PLAY PSA featuring Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. is broadcast at the games.
Measurement: The PR team counts media impressions and the feedback supplied from the MLB teams who fill out a "report card" to measure the success of each year's campaign.
Organization: Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society
Campaign: PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth)
PR Team: Maroon PR
Launch: June 14
Budget: Less than $50,000