WFP has joined forces with a leading advertising agency to build public empathy in Europe for the more than 850 million people who still go hungry, despite a clear abundance of food worldwide and a growing epidemic of obesity.
Working with the London office of Leagas Delaney, WFP has helped to produce three unique commercials that bring home the reality of hunger.
The three commercials each take a different look at hunger, examining not just how it affects real people in Africa but also imagining what it would be like for someone from a comfortable, western background to experience the pain of hunger for the very first time.
"Donate a dessert"
The first commercial to appear on television, “Donate a dessert”, will encourage viewers to think about hunger when they eat out.
In a moving collage of voices, African adults and children ask for a sophisticated dessert they might find at an expensive restaurant.
The viewer is asked to donate the cost of a dessert to WFP, which could feed someone in the developing world for a month for the same price. Click here to view the commercial.
This donation of creative expertise and talent from a top advertising agency shows how effective a role the private sector can play in supporting humanitarian work
Neil Gallagher, WFP's Director of Communications
The second concept is based on real stories of how people in Africa cope with hunger and a lack of food. The film shows a woman collecting stones which she then boils in a pan in front of her children until they fall asleep.
Before it was brought to life on film by Leagas Delaney, this real story was gathered by a WFP worker in southern Sudan who was told it is a traditional way of getting children to sleep during the hunger season.
In the third advert, a businessman dressed in a pinstripe suit is shown struggling to cope with the daily challenges that African women face across their continent on a daily basis.
The “businessman” is seen pounding food in a village with a crying baby strapped to his back and then shown dragging a sack of food aid back to his home.
The film ends by posing the question, “852 million people live like this. Could you?”
Free of charge
Our aim is to put hunger in a context people can relate to
Tim Delaney, Chairman and Executive Creative Director of Leagas Delaney
Leagas Delaney and the film production company, Partizan, donated their services free of charge to produce the adverts that were all shot on location in Kenya.
British Airways kindly donated the cost of flights to carry the film production crew from London to Nairobi and back again.
Role of private sector
“This donation of creative expertise and talent from a top advertising agency, shows how effective a role the private sector can play in supporting humanitarian work,” says Neil Gallagher, Director of Communications for WFP.
The actor John Hurt gave his time to provide the voiceover for two of the adverts, while the singer and composer Damon Albarn gave permission for one of his musical compositions to be used in another.
Putting hunger in context
“Our aim is to put hunger in a context people can relate to,” said Tim Delaney, Chairman and Executive Creative Director of Leagas Delaney.
“By picking up on faddish diets, showing a western businessman facing the everyday challenges of African life and using our indulgences to prompt a response, we believe these spots will help bring home the reality of hunger to a western audience.”
Pro bono basis
WFP is actively searching for television channels and other visual media, such as cinema chains, that will carry the advertisements on a pro bono basis.
The “donate a dessert” advert has already been picked up by international cable and satellite channels and is due to start running in December.
All of the commercials are available in 30 second and one minute formats and will be translated into a number of different languages for international audiences.