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Good messages gone bad: Mould grows on food waste campaign

Love Food Haste Waste NZ‘s new campaign quite literally “went bad” – growing mould to draw attention to New Zealand’s food waste problem.

Kiwis waste $3.2 billion worth of food every year, which is both terrible for the environment and for our pockets.

With a goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030, Love Food Hate Waste NZ (LFHW) teamed up with TBWA/New Zealand to bring attention to the issue.

Their idea? Make the messaging “go bad”, by creating massive billboards that grew mould over a period of weeks.

Giant petri dishes

TBWA\NZ worked with Landcare Biometrics to create three giant petri dishes filled with agar that would grow a mould, created from blue cheese, which was unhazardous to the general public. Outdoor ad specialists Bootleg helped create the unique living billboards.

The billboards went live in mid-April, gradually growing mould over the next six weeks. The stunt was to draw attention to the massive food waste issue and a new initiative, reusable Eat Me First stickers. The stickers were free and made available to the public from a quick scan of a QR codes on the OOH, LFHW’s website, regional councils or at selected Woolworth’s stores across the country.

“We needed our message to be in your face,” said Sophie Wolland, Project Manager of LFHW.

“Because food waste is such a major issue that we don’t often think about day to day.

“The stark visual representation of wasted food aims to shock passersby into action, motivating and inspiring Kiwis to reduce their food waste, minimise their carbon footprint by cutting harmful emissions from food waste and save money,” says Wolland.

“It’s one of those issues where it’s tough to get people to take action. It needs some big attention-grabbing stunts and a smart way to remind us all to eat our older food first, before it needs to be thrown out,” says Shane Brandnick, Chief Creative Officer, TBWA\NZ.

‘Super technical’

“This campaign was super technical for the team to deliver but a really vivid reminder, that if we don’t eat it, we waste it – and that’s terrible for a family’s budget and really bad for our environment.”

LFHW also went big with several giant monuments of mouldy food. A huge apple covered in mould by Wellington’s waterfront reminded Kiwis that “nobody likes a bad apple”. Meanwhile, a massive piece of mouldy toast in the train station nearby inspired people to “break the mould.”

The campaign culminated with the revived NZ Lamb & Beef’s 16-foot tall lamb chop in Te Komititanga Plaza at Britomart – with a mouldy twist, of course. Now gone off, just like all their campaign billboards and posters, the lamb chop towered over the public covered in faux mould. Accompanying signage read “the meat of the matter”.

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