What would it take for major supermarkets to become partners in an advertising campaign? Children. And adam&eveDDB
The UK’s major supermarkets and Birds Eye have got together to fund a campaign by adam&eveDDB for ITV and Veg Power. A campaign to get kids to eat vegetables.
Eat Them To Defeat Them speaks in kid language and uses the power of children’s imagination. Many kids think vegies are gross, so the 60-second campaign hero film presents them as a horde emerging “from underground to take over the world”. The commercial, which was directed by Pulse Film’s Ninian Doff, then depicts the kids chomping through a whole selection of veg in order “to eat them to defeat them”.
The campaign launched on Friday January 25, during Coronation Street, and is running across ITV and STV.
This new strategy responds to the rise in childhood obesity and diet related diseases with recent research finding 96% of teenagers and 80% of primary school age children don’t eat enough vegetables (Veg Facts – The Food Foundation). The campaign is funded by the biggest ever coalition of supermarkets, Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrison, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose along with Birds Eye. Supermarkets are also supporting the campaign in-store and online.
As well as developing the campaign with Veg Power, ITV has backed it with £2 million of airtime across its channels, for an initial 12 week run, including primetime entertainment shows such as The Voice, Dancing on Ice and Britain’s Got Talent.
The day after the campaign launch, ITV broadcast the first vegetable-only ad break during The Voice, with the 60 second Eat Them To Defeat Them ad followed by other adverts promoting vegetables. ITV will also be supporting the campaign editorially across programming.
The TV ad will be supported by online, social, outdoor, cinema and print activity, with the Beano running the print ad and pull-out material in the comic and new veg-themed videos, games and quizzes to support the campaign on Beano.com, including a new food video series, Crunch.
To accompany the campaign, adam&eveDDB has created an ‘eat chart’, which is designed to reward kids with stickers when they consume vegetables. The charts and posters are being distributed to thousands of schools with the support of some of the biggest catering companies in the country.
Mat Goff, chief executive officer, adam&eveDDB, commented, “This partnership between ITV and Veg Power is an opportunity to show the power of advertising to do good. Solving the nation’s health will take a wide range of actions and collaborations and we are delighted to have the opportunity to play a small part in tackling them head on.”
Carolyn McCall, chief executive officer, ITV, stated, “This campaign will reach millions of parents and children through our biggest and most popular shows and it is unlike anything that has gone before. We’re proud to use the power of TV to take a new, bold and brave approach to encouraging kids to eat more vegetables.”
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, food writer and broadcaster, added, “I’m really pleased and excited to be involved in Veg Power. Getting our kids to eat more vegetables is simply vital – and it’s never been more so. This campaign is brave, fun and engaging. It will inspire kids to enjoy the huge range of tastes, textures and colours that the brilliant world of veg has to offer. A diet that’s big on vegetables will be a massive win for our long term health. I’m hoping to see carrots and broccoli flying off the shelves!”
Sir John Hegarty, Veg Power, noted “The Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign is one of the most exciting projects I have worked on. Not only is it brilliant and vibrant creative work but it has the potential to change and save lives. Using advertising to encourage children to love veg is an incredibly important step towards transforming the nation’s health. I hope this daring campaign will have real impact and will inspire others around the globe to use creative ideas to solve one of the greatest challenges we are facing in today’s world.”
adam&eveDDB is working on the campaign pro bono. Other key partners in the campaign include The Beano, ResearchBods, Goodstuff, Pulse Films and Taylor Herring. adam&eveDDB will be conducting an evaluation with expert input from Kantar Worldpanel, University of Cambridge & University of Oxford and support from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.
Veg Power also has the support of major creatives from the world of advertising including Sir John Hegarty, co-founder of BBH, and Andy Porteous, chief strategy officer of Mavens, along with well-known figures including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Baroness Rosie Boycott is the chair of the Veg Power Fund.
The imaginative film needed serious sound power. That came from music and sound company, String and Tins.
“Ninian had a vlog at the end of his treatment guiding us through his whole idea,” explained sound designer, Adam Smyth. “He was acting out the ‘sounds’ of the characters and vocalising how he heard the scenes in his head. As a sound designer, it gives you a great starting point and a sense of what the director wants. And with such a great script and creative by Matt and Mark it was obvious we weren’t going to hold back.”
Foley was used to create many of the epic whooshing sound effects for the spot including golf club swings, and rope whips. Smyth explained, “A lot of the sound was layered with real impacts of bullets, explosions or debris to help maintain punch. The carrots swishing through the shot are made up of tree branch whips and bullet ricochets blended together and effected using a doppler plugin. My other favourite moments in the spot are the sun-rays giving the corn life. We treated the corn voices likes the three mini aliens in Toy Story (e.g. “the clawwwww”) as they are given ‘power’ and ‘life’.”
Giving the evil veggies their own personalities required some vocal step-ins from Ninian, Adam and some of the production team. Adam blended their voice characters with animal vocalisations to give them each a unique impact. And when it came to the sound effects, a delicate balance had to be struck between making the ad sound action-packed but also fun and engaging for kids.
“Playing it safe wasn’t an option,” Smyth noted. “I really wanted to give each scene it’s own little texture or moment. In the end, we decided that pulling on the genre-specific horror string stabs, thunder claps or big war sound-effects alongside a layer of vegetables foley and swooshes would keep the sound design punchy and real, yet light and fun. Experimentation is key to really crafting good original sound design but having a little imagination is also helpful. And I hope that this spot can help lift the imaginations of kids at meal times. I certainly stab my carrots with more intensity.”