Cinema Proves Effective Weapon Against World Hunger

Published September 25, 2019

NEW YORK: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today launched the next phase of a cinema ad campaign that has yielded dramatic results, generating a 40% increase in brand awareness in North America about WFP’s life-saving work on the frontlines of world hunger. The “Feed our Future” campaign is part of a unique partnership between SAWA, the Global Cinema Advertising Association, its network of Global Cinema Advertising companies and WFP, which is the leading humanitarian agency supporting development and responding to hunger needs in global hotspots.

The new campaign aims to build on last year’s results that helped to double awareness of WFP among those who saw the ad and raised more than half a million dollars through online giving and through a 38% increase in downloads of the agency’s Share the Meal donation App.

“We have every reason to believe that this year, the Feed our Future campaign is going to take us even further in terms of raising WFP brand visibility and engaging a wider audience in the fight against global hunger,” said Corinne Woods, Chief Marketing Officer at WFP.  “We think that this year’s campaign is even more emotionally engaging and we expect more people will respond to our call.  In a world full of noise, cinema has proven incredibly effective for us at cutting through to not only establish our brand, but also to convert cinema goers into active supporters and donors.”

“The Cinema Medium makes the most of its space, creative and audience to deliver gripping content, showing consumers advertising at its very best,” said Cheryl Wannell, CEO of SAWA. “In 2020 the Cinema Medium is predicted to become the fastest-growing ad medium ahead of the internet. For brands like the World Food Programme who want to reach the hearts and minds of millennials, the immersive experience that Cinema gives is the most powerful of all storytelling mediums.”

The creative force behind the new advertisement is Sir John Hegarty, of The Garage SOHO, who has delivered a product designed to appeal directly to cinema audiences.   The advert highlights the potential lost to the world when children’s voices are silenced due to hunger. The poignant narrative of the ad sees a group of Syrian refugee children who were selected from the local community playing in rubble and gazing out of bombed-out buildings in an apparent war zone. Softly, a small chorus of voices begins singing “How Can I Tell You” by Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens. As the short film progresses, one by one these children disappear until only one voice remains — an unnerving conclusion that mirrors the harsh realities faced by the 3 million children around the world who lose their lives to hunger or malnutrition.

“Cinema is still the most amazing medium for any creative person to work in. A place for you to tell your story on the ‘mother of all screens’. It’s not surprising that it’s so important and continues to capture the public’s imagination”, said Sir John Hegarty.

In 2018, SAWA and WFP challenged Facebook to translate Sir John Hegarty’s big screen concept to trigger donations on the social media platform, converting cinema goers into donors. Together with ShareTheMeal, online donors have provided one million meals to children in need around the world through WFP. As the leading agency fighting hunger worldwide, WFP reaches more than 52 million children every year, providing vital food and nutrition to help them not only survive, but thrive.

Thanks to the generosity of SAWA and its network of Global Cinema Advertising companies, and the support of Unique X who distributes the ad, “Feed Our Future” will air on cinema screens from September to November 2019 in more than 35 countries around the world.


The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

SAWA, the Global Trade Body to the Cinema Medium, builds and develops international standards and best practice for the Cinema Medium; raising the profile through research and marketing initiatives. SAWA’s ultimate aim is to improve communication between Cinema Advertising companies around the world; in turn facilitating the easier buying of the Cinema Medium for brands and agencies.  Since 2015, SAWA has supported the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in 2018 and 2019 partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support efforts to reach  SDG2: Zero Hunger.

The Garage Soho is an early stage investor and brand builder. Sir John Hegarty, the creative founder of global advertising agency BBH, and his team at The Garage leverage their experience to increase capital for their portfolio companies. The team works closely with companies on their brand strategy, creative and often media partnerships. In this instance, Sir John wrote and creatively directed ‘Feed our Future’ utilizing his legendary skill in the communications industry to bring attention and action towards the SDG of Zero Hunger.

For further information, please contact:

Cheryl Wannell (SAWA, Sydney): TEL: +61 406 215 561 │ EMAIL:

Jessica Andrews (WFP, Rome): TEL: +39 342 648 1694 | EMAIL:

Steve Taravella (WFP, Washington DC): TEL: +1 (202) 770-5993 | EMAIL: