Port Pirie is home to the world’s largest lead smelter; operational for 127 years and the economic lifeblood of the Upper Spencer Gulf Region, South Australia.

Nyrstar, the multi metals company and new owner of the smelters in 2005, in conjunction with SA Health set an objective 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 message-like, 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.

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 awareness quickly translated into action.

  • From 48.3% to 82% and climbing
  • Transformed results
  • Transformed community participation
“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

Ten For Them

The name ‘tenby10’ and its logo had become very familiar within the Port Pirie community (see separate case study) with understanding for the aim of the project and pride in the results to date both firmly established. SmithAssociates was then briefed to create the brand to transition the tenby10 project beyond 2010.

It was important that the message of the new brand theme reflected the great work undertaken to date within the community, and kept awareness high about the importance of lowering children’s blood lead levels.

First we conceived the name ‘Ten for them’. The new name and logo made for an easy transition, retaining connection to what people were familiar with. The figures in the logo took on the shape of a caricature we had introduced into the campaign during the previous year.

The name also ensured that the number ten was still the important number for people to remember, because getting children’s blood lead levels below 10 micrograms per decilitre was still the aim of the project moving forward. ‘For the future we all want’ remained an integral part of the project message.

It's In Our Hands

Examples of the project 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.

The ‘summer’ initiative (below) helped achieve further blood lead level reductions in the community, significantly with results being the best-ever recorded following the holiday seasonal period the sub-campaign was created to target.

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