Social marketing is a valued public policy instrument for addressing some of the most intractable problems, such as rising rates of obesity. The basic intent is clear – to persuade people to make ‘better’ choices. The challenge arises at the level of design: how to devise a message and its delivery in a way that will effectively cut through all the other distractions to actually deliver its kick. The research budgets of governments do not match those of commercial marketers, but governments aim similarly to find out how best to align message content, the means of conveying the message and the receptivity of the target. I devised a small-scale Q-methodology study to better understand 10-year-old girls’ views about healthy-eating messages and to derive plausible suggestions for the design of social-marketing messages. Methodologically, the study illustrates how Q methodology can be used in research with children. It suggests that when it comes to ideas to address intractable problems, a good source may be the ‘everyday’ world.