Persuasive communication

Centre for Language Studies | Faculty of Arts | Radboud University Nijmegen

Burn calories, save electricity – a stair climbing campaign in the Erasmus building

By Hongling Xiao

All regular users or even visitors of the Erasmus building must have noticed the various promotional signs and posters for climbing stairs since February 2018. It is a campaign entitled ‘Betrapt’ launched by FFTR, Letteren and Corporate Communication within the framework of the Sustainability Testbed. The intention is to encourage the increased use of stairs by students, employees and other users of Erasmus building.

I find this campaign very appreciable. It is a campaign for environment and for health.

Easily available elevators/lifts or escalators in public places and workplaces, though providing great convenience, speed, and necessary help in some cases, also have negative effects. The most immediate is the consumption of electricity, which is definitely not good for the environment. This is one of the major points promoted by the campaign ‘save electricity’.

‘Health’ is another concern of the campaign. Lack of physical activity in daily life is a major public health issue in modern society. Heavy dependence on lifts or escalators in everyday life makes the condition even worse. Climbing stairs, however, helps a lot. First of all, it quickly burns calories. The calorific expenditure from one-minute of stairs climbing is 10 kcal on average, while only 1.5 from taking the lift. So, it is an easy and efficient way of losing weight or avoiding overweight. It’s also been widely accepted and proved that climbing stairs helps protect against high blood pressure, clogged arteries, diabetes, and even cancers! More than that, while climbing stairs, your body releases chemical endorphins, a type of neurotransmitter that can make you feel happy and calm.

The message that climbing stairs benefits both the environment and the health is well combined and conveyed through multimodal semiotics. There have been verbal slogans such as “Burn calories, save electricity” and “Betrapt(‘caught’)”, mathematic formula “1 minuut traplopen = 10 * kcal”, vivid pictures of footprints, stairs, and a healthy heart, etc.. It is also impressive that the signs and posters have ‘found their way’ in all the strategic locations in Erasmus building: the entrance, the ground floor hall, the elevator room on every floor, the stair case, etc., anywhere possibly related to the elevators and stairs in this building.

“Burn calories, save electricity”. A lifestyle project for sustainability of both the environment and health. Why not? Let’s give it a big “Like” and give it a try!



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