Our Mission: Use Art to Address Social Change

Our Issue: Childhood Obesity

The science we’ve used to create our art has its foundation in the obesity epidemic raging through childhood. Nationwide, 33.6% of kids are overweight, and 17% are obese.

Our Angle: We are inundated with messages for unhealthy food.

Poised to fall like Rome, the morbidity and mortality of an obese America threatens our economic health and security by decreasing workplace productivity, burdening our healthcare system, and challenging eligibility for the military. But people know what it takes to be healthy. Even a child can tell you to eat your vegetables and exercise every day. The gap from knowledge to action (and making those actions into habits) competes with 8.5 hours each day we spend in front of a screen, frequently sedentary. From the TVs at the gym to the sleeve on your coffee cup to the stadium sponsorship of your local team, we see nearly 5,000 ads per day, with the majority of food ads targeted to kids promoting foods high in sugar, salt, and fat.

Our Approach: Use the same tactics normally used to sell junk food to get kids engaged, moving, and learning about healthy habits.

With fewer resources, we must be as invasive and persuasive as the media that can transform an undesirable, useless, and unhealthy product into a desirable, hip, multi-million dollar brand. The reality is that people expect to be entertained, or they will change the channel. Welcome to the wild world of Jump with Jill. Rather than rally against the media, we tap the accessible platforms normally used to sell junk food to create a memorable experience that energizes and empowers audiences. Creator Jill Jayne’s nutrition credentials and performance credits inspired a rock & roll approach to childhood obesity prevention and the official title: The Rockstar Nutritionist. We can close the gap between what people know is healthy and what people actually do by shaping health messages that look more like mass media, on a fraction of the budget.

Jump with Jill Touring Cast Kristina Psitos


The science behind our art is to craft a theory-based, behaviorally-focused message that entertains, engages, and educates. Our recipe for rock is: (1) Using behavior change theory as the foundation (2) Modeling the strategies of mass media (3) Engaging our audience. Read more below on each of these ingredients.

(1) Using behavior change theory as the foundation

Jump with Jill is more than just kiddie rock — the show is an anthem for effective behavioral science. Pulling from the Health Belief Model, the Theory of Planned Behavior, and the Social Cognitive Theory, we know an individual’s behavior choice is influenced by many factors including taste, attitude, social norms, knowledge, skills, and social pressure. Using the celebrity of Jill and the interactive music shapes attitudes, social norms, and skills.

(2) Modeling the strategies of mass media

To compete with the funding and reach of mass media, effective health education incorporates what is already working in the commercial realm: slogans, jingles, characters, excitement, and social norming. Nowhere is brand awareness more important than with healthy habits. This is our glossary to creating an effect nutrition advertising campaign:

Angle – Aspect of a story to highlight and develop; the approach

Take the time to explore and understand the “why” behind your audience’s behavior so you can choose a  strategy that is meaningful for your audience.

Audience – Intended receiver of a message

Audiences can be segmented by almost any criteria including age, gender, geography, or buying behavior (i.e. new customers, returning customers, influencers like bloggers). Target the message to reach your audience and your listeners become your customers.

Bandwagon – Everyone is doing it, aren’t you?

You and your peers have the power to define what’s cool. Start a staff wellness program, sell oranges instead of candy, or have a featured vegetable at lunch. With everyone on board, healthy becomes the norm.

Brand Loyalty – Commitment to the platform of a product, company, or service over time

Because estimates have pegged the value of one lifelong consumer as high as $100,000 for a single retailer, companies often go to great lengths to cultivate loyal customers. This is why alcohol companies market to kids before they can drink. Nowhere is brand loyalty more important than with kids, when they are forming healthy habits and are unknowingly targets for marketing campaigns.

Excitement – Attention grabbing tactic often involving blaring music and exaggerated situations

Never boring! Never dull! Ka-pow! Gizonk! Laugh! Focusing on unrelated razzle dazzle is a lot easier than describing a product’s true benefits. Let’s face it — gum, deodorant, and sugar water are not that interesting. The tone of your voice, your language choices, and your delivery transform phytochemicals into fight-o-chemicals… do-do-do-doooo! If you act like it’s exciting, it is!

Ideal People – Advertisers sell ideal lifestyles, not products.

Everyone is attractive, everyone is smiling, and everything is wonderful… all you have to do is buy this product! Show how healthy habits make you feel good and live longer, a true achievement of “life, perfected”.

Omission – Excluding undesirable information

Fast food companies subscribe to “ignorance is bliss.” They don’t detail the fat, sugar, and salt content of that burger your sports heroes are eating in an ad. If you really knew what was in it you wouldn’t buy it!

Product Placement – Treating advertisements as content

DVR technology now lets TV watchers skip through commercials, so product advertisers now embed messages right into the plot. From ET’s Reese’s® Pieces® to Tina Fey’s SOYJOY®, this is adver-tainment. Use this same principal to integrate nutrition into math, reading, and science for cross-curricular learning.

Repetition – Repeat, repeat, repeat to make your message stick

It’s no accident that the same commercial appears more than once on a commercial break. Repetition makes you remember that silly slogan faster than you can remember where you put your keys. Define your core message, then repeat it throughout your presentation. You are not a broken record, you are a commercial for health.

Slogans and Jingles – Repeated expressions capturing the subjective essence of a product

Got Milk?® Just Do It.® Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand.® I’m Lovin’ It.® Your brain has easily cataloged these slogans with the brands they represent. Create the memorable slogan for nutrition education by simplifying your message without losing the science.

Social Marketing (also called Health Marketing) – The use of commercial marketing techniques to improve health rather than promote a product

To compete with the funding and reach of mass media, effective nutrition education programs include market research and systematic development of a message that focuses on your consumer.

Social Media – Web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue

Traditional media like newspapers and billboards are old-fashioned now that everyone has a voice on the web. Marketers target citizen journalists who use a range of online formats from personal essays (like blogging) to one sentence updates (like Twitter). With giveaways and coupons, marketers rely on popular writers to disseminate their advertisements for them. The platforms are also available to us to communicate directly with our clients, fans, and students and provide targeted, credible information in the sea of nutrition noise.

Star Power – Product endorsements by sports heroes, movie stars, and the latest celebrity-of-the-moment

A celebrity’s proximity to a product allows us to assume traits about the person and the product. We come to know a spokesperson by the product and the product by the celebrity. Americans speak in pop culture, so review your talk for places to add current references. Include media literacy tools in your presentations to help your audience deconstruct advertising’s mixed messages. For example, point out the discrepancy between the professional athletes’ actual habits and the unhealthy foods they endorse.

Trans-Media Platform – Messaging across several forms of media to increase dosage, credibility, and universality

Media campaigns are carefully timed to blitz our eyes and ears. That’s why that blockbuster movie trailer is promoted on TV, YouTube, magazines, billboards, and… is that the lead actress on Late Night tonight? Mimic this strategy by tapping multiple learning styles — visual, auditory, and kinesthetic — to increase retention of your message.

(3) Engaging our audience.

We each have a preference for the way we take in new information. Take the time to deliver your message to all learners so everyone understands, even if it means sacrificing the amount of content. We don’t just talk about exercising more, we teach the dance steps! By tapping into multiple modalities of learning — visual, auditory, and kinesthetic — many types of learners are included in the interactive experience,  enhancing memory of these important messages.