Port Pirie, in South Australia is home to one of the world’s largest lead smelters, operational since 1889 and the economic lifeblood of the Upper Spencer Gulf Region.

Nyrstar, the multi metals company and new owner of the smelters in 2005, in conjunction with SA Health, set an objective goal to reduce the blood lead levels of 95% of the Port Pirie community’s children aged under five to 10 micrograms or less (per decilitre of blood) by the end of 2010.

When this program commenced only 48.3% of Port Pirie children aged under five met the World Health Organisation standard. And to date, messages to the community (since the seventies) around the lead issue had been technical and predictably public health-like messages, tonally.

As a result this proud regional community was highly sensitive and very divided around the issue, when SmithAssociates was invited to look at things. Here’s what we created.

Our insight for change. Strategically, we developed a three-stage approach:

First change the conversation; galvanising the community by highlighting the many positive developments happening in and around Port Pirie.

We then explained simply that tenby10 is a goal (to reduce children’s blood lead levels). This message was told using the everyday familiarity of the number ‘10’, said in a way that the community could understand, relate to and connect with.

Once new community understanding was established, we then reinforced the essential in-home health practices (said in new, engaging ways) and developed new ways too, for people to participate towards the goal.

SmithAssociates created the overall theme for tenby10, ‘For the future we all want’.

Through implementing the above three stages for the tenby10 objective, the shift in community understanding quickly translated into action.

“The Awareness Campaign results are the best I’ve seen for a community engagement (health) campaign.”
Dr Kevin Buckett - Director of Public Health, SA Health
Blood lead levels in children have improved significantly, from 48.3% of children recording a blood lead level of less than 10 micrograms per decilitre in 2005, compared to 71.2% in 2010 (increased to 82% in January 2011).
John Hill - South Australia Health Minister
“Anyone can give you ideas, but SmithAssociates really get it. They get the issues. There is an integrity and understanding with what we are trying to achieve. It’s a match made in heaven.”
Gail Bartel - Manager Corporate Communications, Nyrstar Port Pirie

Participation is now a huge success, but the goal is approaching an unavoidable ‘use-by’ date. What to do?

‘tenby10’ had become very familiar and popular in Port Pirie, with community understanding for the aim of the project, and pride in the results, firmly established. The problem was that the end of 2010 meant the end date of the project’s name. (See ‘tenby10’ above.)

It was important that a new name reflect the great work already accomplished in the community, while keeping awareness high about the importance of everyone’s continued efforts for lowering children’s blood lead levels. Here’s what we created.

Our insight for change. The new name and logo made for an easy transition, retaining connection to what people were familiar with.

The name also ensured that the goal number* was still top of mind. (*This number, based on the world health standard, has since changed. And so again, did the brand - see TLAP case study below.)

Further examples of the work SmithAssociates has created under the Ten for Them community campaign, to engage parents and older siblings in the essential daily practices for raising healthy young children in a lead smelter community.

How things changed. This ‘Summer’ initiative (below) helped achieve significant further blood lead level reductions. Results were the best-ever recorded following the summer holiday (and drier, windier seasonal) period the sub-campaign was created to target.

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