Case Study: PR Propels California Menu Labeling Bill Into Law

Organization: California Center for Public Health Advocacy Agency: Brown-Miller Communications Timeframe: 2009 With the national obesity crisis growing to epidemic proportions, some health experts say there’s a need for consumers to understand what they’re eating—not just how much in terms of caloric content. For consumers in California trying to make sense of what they were eating in restaurants, with meager information at hand, it was a frustrating experience. At the same time, health advocates in the Golden State who were pushing this issue were running up against an immutable force: a powerful fast-food lobby. HOLLOW LEGISLATION As a sponsor of landmark restaurant menu-labeling legislation (Senate Bill 1420), the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) enlisted the services of Bay Area-based Brown-Miller Communications to increase public understanding of and support for the nation’s first statewide menu-labeling law. According to Michael Miller, president of Brown-Miller Communications, the agency was brought to the project after having worked with the California Center for Public Health Advocacy for over a decade on a host of nutrition issues, mostly addressing them from a media advocacy point of view.

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