The @MediaSmartUK #EatThemToDefeatThem education pack builds on the campaign’s success with primary school pupils 

UK advertising’s non-profit education programme, Media Smart, has launched a brand-new creative careers resource based on ITV and Veg Power’s Eat Them To Defeat Them advertising campaign to encourage healthier eating among secondary school age students. It takes students behind the scenes at adam&eveDDB, one of the UK’s leading communications agencies, to show how the ad is created while encouraging consideration of a career in advertising. The new resource is backed by funding and media inventory support from 30 organisations across the advertising industry, including national broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.

Media Smart aims to raise young people’s interest in creative careers by challenging them to design an entertaining, persuasive public health campaign that encourages teenage peers to eat more vegetables. Following a brief set by NHS Doctor and television presenter Dr. Ranj Singh, students are guided through the steps an advertising agency would follow, focussing on what motivates and interests their target audience. They then use this insight to develop an idea for an advert that stands out, with students pitching against teams of their fellow classmates to come up with the winning creative concept. The resource pack includes interviews with the team that created the original Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign, whose mission was to encourage primary age children to eat more vegetables.

Recent developments around COVID-19 mean that young people are being affected by, and experiencing, public health issues like never before. This new resource is timely in that students will take a close look on how to communicate to their teenage peers about personal health and wellbeing.  As we enter into a period where distance learning and home schooling will become the norm, Media Smart – as an online resource – is also well placed to support parents, teachers and pupils to keep learning during this important time.

Eat Them To Defeat launched in January 2019 and saw over 650,000 children eating more vegetables and 18 million more units of vegetables sold – enough for an extra portion of vegetables on every family dinner table in the UK for each week of the campaign.

Rachel Barber-Mack, Director, Media Smart, commented:

“We are huge fans of the Eat Them To Defeat them campaign. It is having a real impact with primary school age children and we wanted to help extend its reach to the teenage audience. I cannot wait to see the public health campaign ideas that the young people come up with. With further industry backing, we could even turn one of the ideas into a real advert. We hope our new educational resource, which lends itself to remote teaching or home schooling, will both inspire young people into creative careers as well as to eat more vegetables!”

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Dr. Ranj Singh, NHS Doctor and Television Presenter, said:

“Encouraging healthy lifestyles and eating habits among young people is vital and this new resource from Media Smart – backed by broadcasters like ITV – is an important step in the right direction. Enabling young people to explore their creativity while learning about healthy lifestyles and future work options is a great way of combining important parts of the curriculum with a crucial message for personal health and wellbeing”. 

Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive, ITV, said:

“It is brilliant to see our award-winning Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign being taken into secondary schools, thanks to this initiative from Media Smart. Not only will young people benefit from the healthy eating messages that Eat Them To Defeat Them encourages, but this also gives them an opportunity to learn all about careers in advertising.”

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association, commented:

“Media Smart has a vital role to play in encouraging media literacy among our children and young people and this new resource is an excellent way of bringing healthy eating into the heart of the classroom and encouraging children to choose healthier options, while also enabling them to view advertising as a rewarding and innovative career choice.   

“The value of the UK’s Creative Industries, of which advertising is a key part, was nearly £112bn in 2018 and the sector supported 3.2m jobs – a number that increased by 81,000 in 2018 alone. With growth like this, there’s a very good opportunity for young people to get involved and join us by choosing a career in the industry.”

Eat Them to Defeat Them, the award winning campaign between ITV and Veg Power to encourage children to eat vegetables. It returned in February and is running over Spring as part of a ground-breaking £10m media alliance with ITV, C4 and Sky aimed at improving children’s physical health over the next three years. Eat Them to Defeat Them 2019 saw over 650,000 children eating more vegetables and 18 million more units of vegetables sold – enough for an extra portion of vegetables on every family dinner table in the UK for each week of the campaign. This proof-of-concept showed the positive power of media in changing behaviour. Eat Them to Defeat Them is part of ITV’s ongoing objective to encourage 10 million people to take action and improve their mental or physical health by 2023.

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