National CineMedia and Screenvision are joining the next phase of Feed our Future, a global cinema ad campaign that shines a light on the United Nations World Food Program’s life-saving work on the frontlines of world hunger. Starting today, the advertisement will be shown on movie screens across the U.S. through November. The Feed our Future campaign is part of a unique partnership between SAWA, the Global Cinema Advertising Association and the WFP, which is the leading humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.
The new campaign aims to build on last year’s results that helped to double awareness of WFP among those who saw the ad and raised more than half a million dollars through online giving or through a 38 percent increase in downloads of the agency’s Share the Meal donation app, globally.
“We have every reason to believe that this year, the Feed our Future campaign is going to take us even further in terms of raising WFP brand visibility and engaging a wider audience in the fight against global hunger,” said Corinne Woods, chief marketing officer at the WFP. “We think that this year’s campaign is even more emotionally engaging and we expect more people will respond to our call. In a world full of noise, cinema has proven incredibly effective for us at cutting through to not only establish our brand, but also to convert cinema goers into active supporters and donors.”
“The cinema medium makes the most of its space, creative and audience to deliver gripping content, showing consumers advertising at its very best,” said Cheryl Wannell, CEO of SAWA. “In 2020 the cinema medium is predicted to become the fastest-growing ad medium ahead of the internet. For brands like the World Food Program who want to reach the hearts and minds of millennials, the immersive experience that cinema gives is the most powerful of all storytelling mediums.”
The creative force behind the new advertisement is Sir John Hegarty, of The Garage Soho, who has delivered a product designed to appeal directly to cinema audiences. The adverting highlights the potential lost to the world when children’s voices are silenced due to hunger.
The film features a group of children playing in rubble and gazing out of bombed-out buildings in an apparent war zone. Softly, a small chorus of voices begins singing How Can I Tell You by Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens. As the short film progresses, one by one these children disappear until only one voice remains, an unnerving conclusion that mirrors the harsh realities faced by the three million children around the world who lose their lives to hunger or malnutrition.
Then one stark fact appears on screen: every year, three million children die of hunger. In just over 60 seconds, the film seeks to portray the terrible price the world pays in lost potential every time a child is lost to hunger.
What may not be immediately clear is that each of the ten boys and girls on screen is a Syrian refugee growing up far from the places they once called home. The children were selected from a choir that brings together refugees and host communities. Each one helps to represent the millions of children who suffer from hunger as a result of violence and conflict every year.
Music director Esmeralda Conde Ruiz said, “We had this idea to create the choir out of Syrian refugee children. It’s just wonderful to see how food can connect us all, with no language at all. It’s going to stay with me for a very long time.”
Some of the children’s families were already receiving cash transfers from WFP to pay for food. Among them was Abeer Meselmani, the lone child remaining at the end of the film. “When we left Syria we lost a lot of things,” she said. “We lost our relatives, we lost people we love, and our homes and land…everything.”
Another, Wedad Al Abib said, “I wish I could go back to our home in Aleppo and see my neighbors again.”
"Cinema is still the most amazing medium for any creative person to work in,” said Hegarty. “A place for you to tell your story on the mother of all screens. It’s not surprising that it’s so important and continues to capture the public’s imagination."
Thanks to the support of NCM, Screenvision and other SAWA members in over 35 countries audiences across America and around the world will hear this important message. For more information about the Feed Our Future advertisement and campaign, and to learn how to get involved in creating a world with Zero Hunger, please visit: www.wfp.org.