The original social network – Heart Foundation’s ‘Mums United’ campaign

Campaign: Mums United

Client: The Heart Foundation

Agency: Soup


Over 60% of adult Australians and one in four children are either overweight or obese. Worryingly, Australia is ranked as one of the fattest nations in the developed world.

In Australia, as the leading organisation dedicated to reducing the impact of cardiovascular disease, the Heart Foundation has for many years run programs and lobbied for improvements in our food supply and opportunities for a more active community.

It seems almost every day there’s a TV, radio or newspaper story about our growing waistline and the increased risk it poses on our health, such as cancer, type two diabetes, stroke and heart disease. But with people bombarded with so many conflicting health recommendations, some find it difficult to decipher fact from fiction.

To address this confusion, the Heart Foundation developed the ‘Mums United’ initiative.

Mums United family


The ‘Mums United’ initiative was designed to get Australian mums to band together and make small lifestyle changes within their families and local communities – with the ultimate goal of improving the shape of Australia.

Through the initiative, the Heart Foundation wanted to take the confusion out of healthy eating and activity advice, with three simple messages:

  • reduce your saturated fat intake (specifically educating mums about switching from full-fat dairy to reduced-fat dairy for everyone over two years old, and switching from butter to margarine),
  • be active for at least 30 minutes a day (60 minutes for kids), and
  • choose healthier options in the supermarket by looking for the Heart Foundation Tick.

The challenge was also convincing people to prioritise these behaviours in their already busy routines, with mums leading the way in initiating simple lifestyle changes. The aim was to provide mums and their families with healthy living advice that they felt was both achievable and fun.

One of the initiative’s biggest objectives was to drive uptake of information from the Heart Foundation as a trusted source of advice, and in turn inspire and cause actual behaviour change through a community of advocates.


In order to engage directly with mums at a grassroots level, it undertook a national word of mouth (WOM) marketing campaign to create a conversation from the ground up, amplifying the impact of traditional advertising.

The Heart Foundation enlisted Soup to enable it to immediately reach influential consumers, in this case highly-networked mums, to spread the word of its new initiative and create the grassroots groundswell of conversations.

To supercharge the awareness and impact of the ‘Mums United’ initiative at a community level, Soup created and executed a three-month WOM marketing campaign. From its database of over 100,000 influential consumers (or ‘Soupers’), Soup matched 1785 mums, or ‘Soup Mamas’, in regional and metropolitan markets around the country to the Heart Foundation campaign.

Influencers have over double the amount of branded conversations than the average person. Around 65% of their branded conversations carry an active recommendation, so they buy, try or consider the product, brand or initiative they’ve heard about. Also, their social networks are at least double that of an average person. They are highly active in their online and/or offline worlds. In the case of the Soup Mamas selected, they were regular Facebook users and were social organisers within their networks. Soupers are not paid to be involved in any campaign, so brands are guaranteed that people’s feedback and interest is genuine.

The Heart Foundation decided to tap into Soup’s database of influential mums around the country because of their genuine interest in issues that impact on their family lives.

Additionally, Soup recruited a small number of ‘über’ influencers, defined by their access to larger networks and their ability to organise larger events with over 50 people within their own community. Soup also approached mummy bloggers to take on one of the ‘Mums United’ healthier living changes.

Mums United family


In August last year, Soup identified the Soup Mamas who would lead the WOM marketing campaign. They were educated about the ‘Mums United’ content, and then opportunities were created to spread the message within their vast networks of other mums.

To begin the education process and to help them spread the message in a fun and natural way, they were sent educational information packs. This included a saturated fat mythbusting quiz, healthy recipes and an activity booklet tracker, as well as sharing materials such as shopping list pads, family walking charts and extra recipes.

The ‘über’ influencers were provided with prizes and collateral to help support their own community events.

The mummy bloggers reported to readers their own Mums United challenge and how they were progressing.

The three-month campaign ran from September to November 2011.

Mums United map


73% of mums said that their children were active every day (98% of mums said that their children were active a few times a week or more), compared to 52% active every day prior to the campaign. Not only that, but 30 minutes of activity at least a few times a week increased by 16%age points for mums, too.

When it comes to choosing healthier options in the supermarket, the campaign saw a shift from 75% of mums to 90% of mums that now look for Heart Foundation Tick products at least monthly, and mums reported switching from full fat dairy to healthier reduced fat products when shopping. Full-fat dairy usage dropped from 77% using it weekly or more, to just 21% post-campaign, with use of reduced fat dairy increasing from 61% to 82%.

The WOM marketing campaign resulted in a total of 896,070 offline conversations within the first month of its launch, more than double the pre-campaign target of 438,463 conversations. Meanwhile, online conversations totalled 78,057 – also well ahead of the 48,561 pre-campaign target.

A total of 16,000 mums attended a ‘Mums United’ get-together organised by a Soup Mama, with an average of 9.3 people at each event. ‘Mums United’ collateral was shared with an average of 11.4 people each.

In other results, over 1200 Soup Mamas joined the ‘Mums United’ Facebook community, and 939 mums reviewed the ‘Mums United’ campaign in an online product review, awarding it 4.3 stars out of five stars.


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