World Food Programme tackles hunger with innovative ad

Women collecting sacks of maize and sorghum air-dropped from a World Food Programme (WFP) plane in a village in South Sudan in July 2018 | © AFP | PATRICK MEINHARDT
Women collecting sacks of maize and sorghum air-dropped from a World Food Programme (WFP) plane in a village in South Sudan in July 2018 | © AFP | PATRICK MEINHARDT

New York (AFP) |

Billed as a world first, the advertisement that will appear in cinemas in more than 30 countries will feature an on-screen code that movie-goers can scan with their smartphones to interact on Facebook Messenger.

On Messenger, the user can then interact with the character from the advertisement who shares her story and offers a way to donate meals to hungry children through the UN agency’s ShareTheMeal app.

In the short clip, a woman appears at a packed news conference said to be about a breakthrough medical advance.

When she speaks, she instead reveals that she has died of hunger at age eight — followed by the UN agency’s message on how to help.

Unveiling the advertisement on the eve of the annual UN General Assembly, the World Food Programme said it wanted to find a new way to drum up support for tackling hunger, which has been rising in the world through factors that include conflict and drought.

Some 821 million people, or one-ninth of the global population, go to bed hungry, according to the World Food Programme.

The campaign is being backed by the global cinema advertising association SAWA and will also appear on Facebook and Instagram.

“The creative challenge here is to find a way of engaging the audience without resorting to endless images of starving children,” said veteran British advertising executive John Hegarty, who conceived of the campaign.

The advertisement creates “empathy by reminding the viewer that when a child dies, we all lose,” he said in a statement.

The ShareTheMeal app, launched two years ago by the World Food Programme and which takes donations in even tiny amounts, has provided for more than 22 million meals in hungry countries including South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, according to the UN agency.

© 2018 AFP

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