ConAgra Foods' Feeding Children Better Foundation

Author:Candice Mancini
Pages:363-366
 
INDEX
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1 ConAgra Drive

Omaha, Nebraska 68102-5001

USA

Telephone: (800) 771-2303

E-mail: FeedingChildrenBetter@conagrafoods.com

Web site: www.feedingchildrenbetter.org

CHILD HUNGER CAMPAIGN
OVERVIEW

ConAgra Foods, the $14 billion packaged-food giant, created its Feeding Children Better program in 1999 in response to the growing problem of childhood hunger in the United States. In conjunction with the Advertising Council and America's Second Harvest, ConAgra's Feeding Children Better program launched a multitiered public service campaign to increase awareness and understanding of childhood hunger, which, at the time, affected approximately 14 million American children.

The "Child Hunger" public service campaign, which started in 2001, used television, print, radio, Web banners, and pamphlets, reaching 57.5 million people in its first year alone. Created by advertising agencies Bartle Bogle Hegarty of New York and Euro RSCG Tatham Partners of Chicago, both of whom volunteered their services free of charge, the ads conveyed to the public the realities of being poor and hungry. The first part of the campaign, conceived by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, used the tagline "The sooner you believe it, the sooner we can end it" and involved heartbreaking television spots drawn from real-life stories. In "Shared Food," for example, a girl prepared a meager meal for the younger children in her family but neglected to feed herself. Euro RSCG, which took over the account in 2002 and changed the tagline to "Hunger. A choice no one should have to make," created equally poignant TV commercials. "Rent or Food," "Heat or Food," and "Medicine or Food" were all created in an attempt to disclose the terrible choices many poor families had long had to make.

In the end the "Child Hunger" campaign was considered successful. More than $45 million of media was donated to promote the campaign, accomplishing ConAgra's goal of gaining free media exposure for the problem and thus making the other tasks more easily attained. There were 285,250 hits on Feeding Children Better's website (the URL was displayed in all advertising materials), there was an increased awareness that childhood hunger existed in America, and in response to the campaign the U.S. Department of Agriculture donated 9 million lunches to schools in the summer of 2001.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The Feeding Children Better program was established in 1999 by ConAgra Foods, a leading packaged-food company offering such brands as ACT II, Healthy Choice, Kid Choice, Peter Pan, and Parkay. Feeding Children

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Better—which became the largest corporate-backed program to fight child hunger—was divided into three major components: Kids Cafe, Rapid Food Distribution System, and Public Awareness Campaign. In a combined effort the three divisions were able to donate food, to assist in its distribution to the hungry, and to raise awareness both of the organization and of child hunger in the United States.

To help run Feeding Children Better, ConAgra partnered with the national nonprofit group America's Second Harvest, the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. America's Second Harvest had evolved into a network of more than 200 food banks, which, in total, dispensed food and grocery products to approximately 50,000 charitable hunger-relief agencies. The organization administered Feeding Children Better's Kids Cafes and Rapid Food Distribution System. To operate the Feeding Children Better program, ConAgra also teamed up with the Center on Hunger and Poverty, a research center based at...

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