Eat Them To Defeat Them is a radical new advertising campaign that aims to get kids eating more healthily. It launches today, Friday 25th January, across ITV and STV.
adam&eveDDB devised the campaign for ITV and Veg Power with a bold new approach to promote veg. It is funded by a ground breaking alliance of all the UK’s major supermarkets and Birds Eye.
Eat Them to Defeat Them’s strategy puts children in control in a fun, playful way, and speaks directly to them – playing to the truth that many kids think vegetables are gross – and engaging with kids and parents in a brand new way, looking to reinvigorate how vegetables are viewed and consumed.
In a 60-second film, directed by Pulse Films’ Ninian Doff, children are cast as the heroes in movie scenario with a horde of vegetables emerging “from underground to take over the world”. The ad then depicts the kids chomping through a whole selection of veg in order “to eat them to defeat them #EatThemToDefeatThem ”.
This new strategy is designed in response 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, launching in Coronation Street, 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 food brand 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 will 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.
This 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, CEO, adam&eveDDB said: “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, CEO, ITV said: “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 said: “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 said: “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. We 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.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2014 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 7th January 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
Getting kids to eat veg is as a battle
Nearly half of parents (48%) agree that it can be a battle to get their kids to eat more veg
51.7% of parents have to tell their kids to finish their veg.
44% of children will remove at least some, if not all, of the salad from a burger.
43% of adults say their children are fussier eaters than when they were children
Parents end up waiting for their kids to eat up veg
Nearly half of parents (49.2%) wait at least 5 minutes or more at family mealtime for their children to finish their vegetables, (that equates to 30 hours a year)
For some, getting kids to eat veg is a source of arguments
Nearly 1 in 5 parents (17%) agree that asking their children to eat up their vegetables is a source of arguments
Parents wish their kids ate more veg
71.4% of parents wish their child ate more vegetables
And parents would buy more if they knew their kids would eat them.
Over half of parents (58%) would buy more vegetables if they knew their children would eat them
But parents don’t lead by example.
More than half (55%) of parents choose chips as a side dish over salad and veg when eating out.
Parents recognise that their kids only eat veg if they are encouraged to do so
76.5% of adults have to encourage their children to eat more veg
Parents are resorting to using rewards and threats to encourage kids to eat their greens
Half of parents use the phrase 'You’ll be strong if you eat your vegetables' to get their child to eat their veg,
followed closely with 39% using the threat of ‘You won’t get dessert if you don’t eat your vegetables’.
21% won’t let their child leave the table until they’ve eaten their veg.
18% use rewards as a way to encourage veg eating
Parents have to throw out a lot of veg that doesn’t get eaten.
More than 8 out of 10 parents (83%) have thrown away leftover vegetables from their children’s plates after a meal
A third of parents (32.8%) often throw away leftover vegetables from their children’s plates after a meal.
Uneaten veg stops parents from buying veg
59.7% of parents would buy more veg if they knew they’d be eaten before their best before date
Parents would buy more veg if they knew it’d get eaten.
57.7% of parents would buy more veg if they knew their kids would eat them
51% would purchase vegetables more often if they were cheaper on offer or promotion.
Most Loved and most hated veg
Sweetcorn (21%) and carrots (20%) are children (0-17 years) favourite vegetables with butternut squash, cabbage and cauliflower the least favourite.