Advertising guru backs competition encouraging kids to eat their greens

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Legendary advertising executive Sir John Hegarty has teamed up with The Food Foundation to launch a creative competition to persuade children to eat more vegetables.

Creative agencies, advertising and design students are invited to come up with poster ideas which could be turned into a range of marketing materials aimed at increasing the consumption of fresh produce amongst UK kids aged 5-11.

There has been much industry focus on this issue recently as organisations, companies, charities and think tanks joins forces with industry professionals in a myriad of campaigns geared towards teaching children the importance of healthy eating habits, including eating fresh produce.

In June, it was one of the key topics at The London Produce Show where TV presenter, author, restaurateur, and patron of Let’s Get Cooking, part of the Children’s Food Trust, Prue Leith CBE was also the show’s official ambassador.

Campaigns are running all over Europe as well. The latest data shows that despite a slight increase in fruit and vegetable consumption amongst children in EU countries, it is still below the World Health Organization’s daily recommendation of 400 grams.

And a recent Food Foundation report found that 95.5% of UK children leaving primary school do not eat enough veg, while their parents say that 13% of kids eat less than one portion a day.

Meanwhile, children’s recognition of logos and marketing relating to fast food brands forms at an early age and the UK food industry spent more than £250 million promoting “unhealthy” foods for purchase in retail settings, according to Public Health England.

In contrast, only 1.2% of food and soft drink advertising goes on vegetables.

The competition

The co-founder of advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) will judge entries for the contest in early October.

Those shortlisted will get a chance to meet Sir Hegarty on the day of judging and the winning entry will feature in marketing, advertising and design publication The Drum as well as have their poster displayed in advertising spots across the UK.

The winning ad will also be used by a major UK retailer.

“Advertising has a unique ability to change people’s habits. Doing so for good reasons is something our industry should be more focused on,” says Sir Hegarty.

He will chair the judging panel at the Food Foundation’s Vegetable Summit later in October.

“We know that children are often able to recognise the golden arches before they can read their own name,” says Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation.

“Can you come up with a powerful creative concept that will convince the nation’s children to tuck into veg instead of burgers? They’re not eating enough veg to stay healthy, and we need to change that.”

Click here to find out more about the creative brief and how to enter.

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