Anyone who drives on any of the main commuter routes into Manchester (or probably any of the UK's towns or cities) is unlikely to have failed to notice the bright yellow advertisements for the Government's latest healthy eating and exercise campaign, Change4Life.
Now, a Government initiative to encourage better health is nothing new - we are all familiar with the ideas of eating 5 a day, less salt blah blah, etc., etc.
What is interesting about the Change4Life campaign is the way people are invited to find out more information on the subject. Instead of including the actual url in the ads, www.nhs.uk/change4life/ people are asked to "search Change 4 Life".
Whether this indicates the Government believe their target audience to be too lazy to type in a full address into their internet browser, or whether it's a concious attempt to appear to be 'down with the kids', I'm not sure. Either way, it is a clear a sign as any of people's change of behaviour when it comes to looking for information. 'Searching' as a verb is becoming ever more associated with virtual rather than physical activity.
This isn't the first time we have seen this kind of call to action - we have also noticed Orange asking people to search for a phrase online to obtain more information. What is interesting is that unlike Orange, the Government's NHS site has obviously been well optimised for the phrase Change 4 Life, and appears in positions one and two in Google's organic listings. And just as a back up, in case the listing were to slip, they are also occupying the number one slot in the PPC listings.
Time will tell whether more companies use this tactic to try and get traffic to their websites. However, if companies are to encourage people to search for them online rather than provide an actual website url, it is vital that they cover all of their online marketing bases before embarking on such a campaign.