Jamie Oliver is pucker…

Last month we looked at some examples of how language can be used to change behaviour. Let’s look at some of the ideas we discussed in action…

Jamie Oliver is a master of using language to create behaviour change.
 He is a driven man who believes the lives of every day people can be improved significantly by learning about food and how to prepare it.

His manifesto says that his work aims to:

“radically improve the health prospects and social welfare of the public regardless of age and class” 

Jamie believes that the loss of connection with food is leading to an epidemic of obesity and other related illness, which in turn leads to premature death.
What drives Jamie is clear, and what he wants to do is clear. Who he wants to change is clear (those who are overweight and the governments/school boards who regulate/fund the environments in which those who are overweight operate).

However it is How he and his team go about communicating that demonstrates his sophisticated understanding of what people need to hear in order to change their behaviour.

Different audiences are driven by different motivations. They might be affected by their cultural setting or personal experiences, their level of education, their sense of engagement with community – the list is endless. Understanding this has helped Jamie to shape his messages to hit the mark.

The audiences for Jamie’s school dinners and the Feed Me Better campaign are:

The system – a handful of influential politicians and school administrators who have the power to regulate what children eat at school and how much money is available to purchase and prepare this food.

The cooks – Those who make decisions on the ground to purchase and prepare the food.

The parents and children – The group that have the ability to push demand based on their attitudes and desires. 

So who is the target for the name of the show? 

The parents and children who are watching the program at home.

What does Jamie want them to do?

He wants them to be so upset that they will tell their local politician/school that something has to be done.

So what are some alternate titles they could have chosen?

“Tell your local MP this is stuffed”

“Parents save your kids”

“Schools serve crap to our kids”

So why Jamie’s school dinners?

While the show clearly has the drama and conflict that we need to raise the energy of the target group, the name of the show is a gentle bridge for Jamie’s existing audiences to cross in order to act. 
We think to ourselves “that Jamie- he’s a pukka bloke, I’d like to know what he would cook for a school dinner, maybe it will give me some ideas.”

Then once parents are engaged, he implicates them in the problem in order to drive action. ‘Feed Me Better’ is a plea on behalf of the child. It asks schools, politicians and parents to live up to their obligation to take care of the well being of children. It cleverly inspires the right level of guilt in a parent and then creates an external enemy on which they can focus their disappointment and frustration. It conveniently places them on the right side of the argument and puts the pressure on those who regulate the eating environment of their children. The campaign absolutely worked. It led to the government of the day setting up the School Food Trust.

At the risk of repeating ourselves (from last month) it is important to remember that what you need people to do is different to what they need to hear in order to do it.

If you would like to use communication as a effective tool to achieve your objective then you need to be clear on:

What you are trying to achieve

Who you are trying to communicate with

What you need them to do

What they need to hear in order to do it.

Check out how the master does it:




Check out more stories in the category: Knowledge Bank