Inside the Move It Movement with Alice Cahn

2 Jun 2014 -

By Elise DeVoe

Cartoon Network kicked off its annual Move It Movement Tour last month at the Atlanta Jazz Festival. The summertime event travels to 19 cities nationwide (next up: Lakeland, FL), targeting kids and their parents (with the help of Cartoon Network characters) in an effort to help kids live a more healthy and active lifestyle.

Always interested in the hows and whys of successful initiatives, we spoke with Alice Cahn (pictured above), Cartoon Network's vice president of corporate responsibility, about how MIM, as she refers to it, got started and what goes into planning the massive annual event.

Enjoy the Q&A below and read our previous blog post MIM here.

This year marks the fifth annual Move It Movement Tour. Talk a little about how it all got started.

Move It Movement (MIM) is the latest in Cartoon Network’s continuing commitment to youth health and fitness. Beginning over 15 years ago with our Get Animated project encouraging creative play ideas, we have worked with experts in the health field to identify and address key issues impacting youth and families using the transformative power of entertainment media. The specific activities of MIM grew directly from the success of our "Rescuing Recess" with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The National PTA in 2006. RWJ’s research had found that the more free play time kids had during the school day, the better they did in school and tests. At the same time, schools were cancelling recess time to focus on classroom based test prep. Building partnerships across sectors (and using our screens to engage and motivate youth) we were able to raise awareness and help reverse the trend.

How has the Move It Movement Tour progressed over the past five years? What’s new/different this year?

The tour gets bigger and better every year. This summer, the tour is centered around the brand-new Cartoon Network obstacle course in which kids are invited to demonstrate speed and agility against the clock as they race through a series of favorite show-themed challenges. Our partnerships and tour activities this year also include the NFL’s Play 60 Campaign, giving kids ways to have active fun for 60 minutes every day; golfing with PGA touring pros; shooting hoops with the NBA; kicking goals on the Soccer Shootout; and all in the company of Cartoon Network characters encouraging you to play every day.  Brand-new this year is our partnership with CATCH, The Coordinated Approach to Child Health, a nationwide fitness and nutrition program based in schools. Our partnership allows us to reinforce in summer what our kids are learning during the school year to help create healthy habits year-round. As a mom, what I love overall about the tour is that it gives kids a safe place to try sports and games they might not have experienced before, all with experts on board to make that first experience one they will want to continue.

What goes into the making of the tour? Talk a little about the planning process for the annual event.

The tour is a team event from start to finish. I don’t think there is a department at Cartoon Network that isn’t involved in its success. Whether it’s our marketing team building partnerships and tour activities that feature the best of our brand; our partners at TNS creating business opportunities; our creative groups making the tour look, feel and sound its best; our PR team ensuring that everybody knows how to join us; and all backed up and produced by Cartoon Network and Turner staffers across accounting, legal, administration, policy and more. This year’s promo (watch it below) for the event really embodies the company’s commitment—Clarence, the hero of our newest hit original animated series, is featured doing all the fun and funny activities we want kids to do off-screen.

How are First Lady Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move! Initiative involved?

We are long-time supporters of Mrs. Obama’s Let's Move campaign and she has honored us by creating on-air promos supporting MIM. We reach out to local Let's Move organizations; partner with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition by driving traffic to the President’s Active Lifestyle Awards program; and have developed nutrition guidelines for use of Cartoon Network original characters that promote the healthy lifestyle choices featured in Let's Move.

What’s been the most rewarding thing for you about this initiative?

That we can use the power of our entertainment brand to inspire kids to make healthy choices and build healthy habits. We use our screens to support what every parent wants for their child—a healthy, happy and successful future.

Elise DeVoe is Coordinator, Corporate Communications, Time Warner Inc.