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Photo: We Are Latrobe



Photo: We Are Latrobe

Campaign encourages students to ditch sugary drinks

An innovative health campaign encouraging young people to ditch sugary drinks in favour of tap water has launched in the Latrobe Valley.

The H2WOAH campaign directly engages with high school students across the Latrobe Valley, encouraging them to think creatively about how tap water’s image can be overhauled, while also deglamourising the sugary drinks industry.

The Victorian Population Health Survey 2017 shows 13.9% of Latrobe Valley residents consume sugar-sweetened beverages every day, notably higher than the state average of 10.1%.

Sugary drinks include soft drinks, as well as cordials, energy drinks, sports drinks, flavoured milks and fruit drinks. Due to their sugar and kilojoule content, high consumption of these beverages can lead to tooth decay and obesity, along with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

Young males are among the highest consumers of sugary drinks, so making tap water a more appealing choice for teenagers is at the heart of the H2WOAH campaign, which has been developed by the Latrobe Health Assembly’s social marketing team, We Are Latrobe.

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“Young people are the experts on what they and their peers find engaging and they are also incredibly creative,” We Are Latrobe coordinator Chloe Benson said.

“H2WOAH is about tapping into that potential, equipping students with the facts and giving them the chance to take ownership of how we can tackle this challenge as a community.”

Throughout March, the We Are Latrobe team will deliver a series of interactive sessions at Latrobe Valley high schools.

Participating students will be armed with an understanding of marketing techniques and then given the chance to develop their own branding and pitch for tap water, including designing a personalised label for their very own H2WOAH 'can'.

Pilot sessions at Kurnai College have been well-received, with teacher Ange Gordon praising the fresh approach.

“Students have been engaged by the fun and interactive nature of the sessions and they have enjoyed the chance to showcase their creativity,” Ms Gordon said.

“The opportunity to have their say and to help drive the overall direction of the campaign has also been very empowering.”

In addition to the H2WOAH school sessions and an online social media campaign, We Are Latrobe is running a community-wide design competition in a quest to find the best ways to sell tap water to young people in the Latrobe Valley.

Young artists, writers and budding marketeers under 18 years of age are encouraged to create a poster to help promote tap water. A range of giveaways are up for grabs for the strongest designs, including an Envy Scooter and a Garmin Activity Tracker. For full details, check out We Are Latrobe on Facebook or Instagram, or visit

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