Success sounds like a good burp for World Vision Canada

Who: World Vision Canada (WVC), with Broken Heart Love Affair (BHLA) for strategy and creative; Holiday Films for production (directed by Tao/S); Saints Editorial and Darling VFX for post-production; Grayson for audio; Starcom for media; Aardvark Inc. for XM and event marketing; and North Strategic for PR.

What: “Burp”, a new campaign to draw attention and fundraising efforts to World Vision Canada’s initiatives to combat world hunger, namely the organization’s partnership with the UN World Food Programme to deliver food bundles to families in need. It is the first mass campaign that BHLA and WVC have produced together since partnering in January.

When & Where: The campaign is anchored by a 30-second OLV that launched Oct. 4, and will be followed later this month by a series of seasonal spots featuring a more overt “donate now” CTA. The media buy includes cut downs in :15s and :06 across OLV, programmatic and display ads, as well as social.

Why: “The focus of the campaign is to show Canadians the tangible impact that World Vision’s efforts make in children’s lives and encourage them to help join in our meaningful efforts,” said Martin Campbell, vice-president of marketing at WVC, which feeds 2.8 million people every year.

At a busy time of year, most charities and their agencies hope to elicit sympathy (and donations) by using a sombre tone in their advertising. BHLA wanted to flip that approach on its head with “Burp,” which shares happy scenes of families who have been supplied food because of WVC’s aid.

The insight is that kids can’t be kids when they’re hungry, which is why joyful, well-nourished children are the stars of the campaign’s anchor film.

How: The anchor film opens on two children sitting together on a bed and finishing a bowl of food, when one lets out a contented belch. That’s followed by a series of shots of empty plates and children all letting out a burp (a real burp, says WVC) that inspires laughter from their peers and family members, as well as the occasional frown from an unimpressed adult. The spot ends with the tagline, “Feed a child, feed a childhood.”

“The burp is a universal language, and we liked taking something that can sometimes be frowned upon and turning it into a moment of triumph,” said BHLA creative director Marty Hoefkes. “The burp is inherently funny to kids, and World Vision Canada is helping children around the world to be childish in a way many of us take for granted.”

This time with more emotion: WVC’s previous Hunger-Free campaign creative “Everything Viral in 45 Seconds” was released in 2017, with a far less emotional narrative and a more pointed message about people spending time on viral fads instead of the African hunger crisis. “This year, [the organization] wanted to tell a new story about our impact in food insecurity and to do it in a way that drives emotional connection,” said director of brand, creative and campaigns of WVC, Jennifer Watton.

“To many people, burps are gross. But not to kids. And not to us either,” said Watton. “It’s the sound of one less child going hungry. ‘Burp’ shows the laughs of happy kids getting the chance to be kids. It’s a human approach to sharing the challenges and the wins.”

About Tao/S: Director-brother duo Aaron and Winston Tao were strategically chosen for the shoot in South-Africa because “they have so much experience filming around the world with children” said Watton. “[They] have a special talent for capturing moments that feel real, almost like you’re there with them.”

And we quote: “[The campaign is] showing what is possible when we work together to eliminate poverty, and the impact it can have on children who otherwise might not have had the kind of carefree and silly childhood we often take for granted… If people feel that their contributions will make these kinds of improvements, then hopefully that inspires them to give.” — Marty Hoefkes, creative director, BHLA

Emma Johnston-Wheeler