40 years, 40 hours, over 40 countries: World Vision’s poetic tribute to hunger helping the hungry

Since the 40 Hour Famine kicked off in 1975, World Vision says over one million Kiwis have taken part in it and raised $72 million to help people in over 40 countries. And to promote the 40th year of the initiative, which this year is focused on helping Malawi, Sugar & Partners enlisted the talents of renowned poet Sam Hunt, Exposure’s Brooke Benton and a number of other charitable young Kiwis to show how New Zealand’s largest youth fundraising event has become something of a rite of passage. 

“Sam Hunt as the voice was essential for us,” says creative director Damon O’Leary. “Like most New Zealanders, I’ve always loved his unique style. It can be quite haunting, but for me, in a strangely uplifting way. Hopefully those qualities shine through and make the spot more emotional and therefore effective.”

The campaign launched in cinema, TV and online throughout the country with generous support from Val Morgan, MSN and national television networks. It is bolstered by social, digital and direct elements, including 125,000 school packs and posters for classrooms nationwide and a series of online videos. 

“The campaign captures the essence of who we are as World Vision and what Kiwis have achieved through the Famine,” says Helen Carter, general manager, supporter and international engagement. “The TV commercial makes us so proud of our heritage.” 

Sugar & Partners won the World Vision account late last year and its first major piece of work was the What if? campaign. Online marketplace wheedle.co.nz is the main sponsor of this year’s 40 HR Famine and is waiving verification and selling fees on all registered 40HR Famine auctions until the 26 May. 

A couple of Super Rugby franchises and some media peeps are getting involved, too, with participants able to join the different teams. 

  • The 40HR Famine takes place on the 23rd to the 25th of May. Participants can either sign up (as an individual or as a group) here and you can make a donation here


Client: World Vision

Helen Carter – GM, Supporter and International Engagement.

Vicki Webb – Supporter Acquisition Specialist 

Agency:  Sugar & Partners

Creative Directors – Damon O’Leary & Dave Nash

Head of Planning – Tania Stevenson

GAD’s – Dennis Carroll & Jamie McLean

Producer – Wictoria Markula


Media Director: Deb Brown


Director:  Brooke Benton

DOP: Crighton Bone

Producer: Jess Milne

PM: Leah Oram

PM is Sarah Spurway

Liquid Studios:

Composer: Peter Van Der Fluit

Sound Engineer – Craig Matuschka 

Producer: Tamara Oneill


Colourist: Pete Richie

Editor: Nigel Mortimer

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