Can a brash new initiative change the eating habits of young children across the UK?
ITV and Veg Power are teaming up on a bold advertising campaign called Eat Them To Defeat Them that debuts tonight with a specially made spot during Coronation Street (7:30 p.m.) and News At Ten in hopes of inspiring kids to eat more healthy and tackle childhood obesity.
“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,” says ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall. The campaign will be seen on some of its biggest programmes. “We’re proud to use the power of TV to take a new, bold and brave approach to encouraging kids to eat more vegetables.”
The commercial is unique, with vegetables rising up from the ground and raining down on “grown ups.” For years, the ad says, those parents have been able to keep “the veg invasion at bay.” But needing help, adults turn to their children, who stand up and harness and eat the angry-but-healthy foods. “You’re going down peas!” one girl exclaims. “It’s crunch time!” another child says.
“This campaign is brave, fun and engaging,” says Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, food writer and broadcaster said. “It will inspire kids to enjoy the huge range of tastes, textures and colours that the brilliant world of veg has to offer.”
The campaign is being funded by a unique alliance of supermarkets and brands — Aldi, Asda, Birds Eye, Co-op, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose — which are all coming together to help consumers live healthier lives. According to a Veg Facts study by The Food Foundation, 96 percent of teenagers and 80 percent of primary school-age children don’t eat enough vegetables. The UK ranks 21st of 28 in the European Union for fresh vegetable consumption.
“With the aim of using ‘advertising for good’ and engaging and entertaining kids rather than using the well-worn health message, we can really shift the dial and hope to see long lasting behaviour change,” says Baroness Rosie Boycott, Chair of Veg Power and trustee of The Food Foundation. “Having all the major retailers will help us achieve huge reach and impact.”
Veg Power is born out of the work of The Food Foundation and Peas Please. It aims to harness the creative minds of advertising and marketing to make engaging and powerful content aimed at changing our perception of vegetables in order to encourage our kids to eat more veg.
In a YouGov Plc. survey done with adults in 2014, with field work undertaken earlier this
month, parents admitted getting kids to eat more veg was a struggle.
Nearly half of parents (48%) agree that it can be a battle to get 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. The Veg Power fund hopes to use positive messages of vitality, vibrancy and taste to give vegetables a modern appeal.