Nearly 100 billion people around the world do not have enough to eat. Across the developing world, nearly 1 in 3 children suffers from malnutrition. At the same time, another 100 billion are obese, many suffering from chronic diseases associated with being overweight.
This problem of food security is multifaceted, and reflects a need for more sustainable use, access and availability of nutritious foods to meet the needs of our growing planet.
Numerous organizations have turned to social media [among other tools in their outreach strategies] to help combat the global food crisis. As leaders at the Rio+20 Summit convene this week to discuss sustainability in our food and agricultural systems, we are showcasing recent social media successes that have championed global food security. The following three campaigns have put this issue into the heart of and minds of millions of viewers. Can you think of other strong viral campaigns addressing food security?
World Food Programme: Creating Interactive Fundraising Mechanisms: This UN agency last year created an Internet portal called WeFeedback, engaging supporters through an online “Feedback Calculator” that helps them to work out how many children they could feed if they donated the equivalent cost of a favorite food item such as sushi, ice cream or a hot dog. The donor makes an online contribution of the cash price of the chosen food item to the World Food Programme, which in turn uses the money to fund programs providing meals for needy children in various parts of the world.
Action Against Hunger: Breaking from the Traditional Advertisement: Last fall, Action Against Hunger launched a new ad campaign presenting the issue of deadly hunger in a less orthodox fashion. Too often organizations showcase images of starving children to plead for support, leaving audiences over-saturated and left complacent. This campaign effectively provided thought-provoking and viral imagery that garnered significant earned media attention, including coverage in The New York Times. This ad shows an open pizza box with a miniature pizza inside. The copy asks, ‘Hungry? Imagine living on only a tiny fraction of what you eat each day.
USAID: Showcasing Powerful Visuals to Enforce Urgency: As the agency’s first social media-driven cause marketing campaign targeted to the American public, USAID launched the FWD Initiative last fall to highlight the burden of “Famine, War and Drought” in the Horn of Africa. The campaign reflected a foundational transition for USAID – as it shifts to not only meet the needs of millions in aid around the world, but also generate awareness among an American audience on critical humanitarian crises to garner U.S. support. The campaign, created in partnership with Ad Council, empowered powerful storytelling, innovative infographics and endorsement from celebrities and key influencers to generate a social media movement to address an urgent crisis.
This post is part 1 of the “Rio+20: Social for Sustainability Series” on ArmchairAdvocates. This week, world leaders and thousands of participants from all cross-sections of civil society will come together in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to discuss seven critical issues: decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans, and disaster readiness. ArmchairAdvocates will be sharing and discussing how organizations, businesses and individuals are using social media to make an impact in sustainability.