For the first time in its more-than 125 year history, during a prime time X Factor advertising slot, Unilever UK advertised its corporate umbrella brand on TV, as part of a global ‘Project Sunlight’ campaign, launching in five leading markets around the world.
Under the Project Sunlight banner, which the global consumer goods manufacturer launched one year ago, each country has honed in on a sustainability issue prevalent in its market, using ‘Bright Future Speeches’ to shine a light on young people who have new visions for a brighter future. The campaign aims to tackle food poverty and food waste in developed markets, and improve hygiene, sanitation and hand washing to tackle disease in the developing world.
Unilever UK is highlighting the paradox of food waste versus food poverty, issues which according to Unilever and Oxfam UK Poverty Programme’s new Waste Not Want Not report are closer to home than many people think. The report shows 42% of households consider it difficult to live on their income, with 20% of these struggling families borrowing money from family or friends in order to feed themselves and their children. Shockingly 22% of the parents in these families even go without food so that their children can eat. Yet 75% of people continue to throw away food that could have been eaten.
This paradox has inspired Unilever and Oxfam – Unilever UK’s official charity partner since 2012 – to launch #ClearAPlate, a campaign encouraging people to think carefully about their own food waste, raising the issuing of food poverty and supporting Unilever’s pledge to feed families in need. The campaign encourages the UK nation to clear their plate as a sign of commitment to driving down their own personal food waste, share their picture on social media accompanied by the hashtag #ClearAPlate, and play an important role in raising awareness of the issue. Meanwhile, Unilever UK will deliver on its own commitment to providing 500,000 meals to families in need.
Jon Goldstone, VP brand building – foods and refreshments, Unilever UK – and leading the charge on the launch of the Unilever brand in the UK, said: “This is a truly exciting time in Unilever’s history – the public launch of our corporate brand and what we stand for. We’ve made good progress in sustainability since the launch of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan in 2010, but consumer behavioural change is still the most challenging area for us, so we hope that through this campaign we can get our shoppers on board, living more sustainably.
“Through our UK iteration of the Project Sunlight campaign, we are highlighting two very important issues: food waste and food poverty. However, we know that it’s not as simple as saying ‘give your leftover food to those in need’, but by talking about these two issues together, we hope people will think about their food waste in the context of people who cannot afford to eat properly.
“The two themes continue the work that we’ve already been doing in these areas for a number of years; through brands such as Knorr, Colman’s and Hellmann’s, we’ve been providing recipes, grocery shopping advice and tips about how to use up leftovers to help our shoppers to reduce their own food waste, including through the Live Better Challenge with The Guardian. We’ve also been working on food poverty, setting up 41 food banks with Oxfam since 2012, and providing nearly two million meal to families living in poverty. So, our new Project Sunlight TV advert, and our #ClearAPlate campaign, helps to bring these two issues together for the masses.”
Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer, Unilever, said: “A year after the launch of Project Sunlight, a long-term initiative focused on creating a brighter future for children, Unilever is shining a light on the young people inspiring change in their communities. We want the voices of the new generation to be heart – to motivate us all to take action. Together, we can help the millions of children who do not have access to basic sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and clear water.”
Grace, 15 from Croydon, is the UK’s orator, but each of the other five top markets – including Indonesia and the USA – feature local young leaders in their adverts; young people who hold strong views on making sustainable living commonplace for everyone. Together, their voices will be heard by more than 300 million people across these countries, with the hope that shoppers who view the films will be inspired to get involved by raising awareness, volunteering or supporting NGOs who work to tackle hunger and poor sanitation.