Kids' Food Charity Makes the Burpiest Ad of All Time

Broken Heart Love Affair gets kind of gross for a good cause

Buuuurp! Buh-UUUrrrrp!

Cute kids from across the globe belch for all they're worth in Broken Heart Love Affair's latest PSA for relief and advocacy organization World Vision Canada.

The work adopts a playful tone in an often super-serious category. Plus, belches can signify full tummies, so they underscore the campaign's ultimate objective of nourishing impoverished young people.

Themed "Feed a Child, Feed a Childhood," the agency assures us that every burp is real:

WVC | Feed a Child, Feed a Childhood

Look, it's not the rudest thing they could do.

"The burp is a universal language,” says BHLA creative director Marty Hoefkes. “The burp is inherently funny to kids, and World Vision Canada is helping children around the world to be childish in a way many of us take for granted." 

WVC vice president of marketing Martin Campbell calls such belches "music to our ears."

The approach works because it takes the "cute kids" trope in a twisty direction. This strategy just might help viewers contemplate the sad reality of hunger in a fresh way.

WVC helps feed nearly 3 million people each year, though some 45 million experience food insecurity, many hovering on the brink of starvation.

Aaron and Winston Tao (aka TAO/S) directed, and the initiative includes placements across OLV, programmatic and social.

We chatted with Hoefkes about the campaign's development:

MUSE: What was the remit? Surely, the client didn't demand burps.

Marty Hoefkes: The brief was not to just raise awareness for donations, but to also show World Vision Canada's success in helping to feed people around the world. We liked taking this thing that can be frowned upon socially and turning it into this roar of success. 

Tough sell? Did they go for it right away?

There were a few hesitations around the gross-out factor, so we got a range from cute and adorable to actually quite disgusting, and then we decided [which ones to keep] in the edit. We think we landed on a good mix. It's a shame the grandma's burp never made the cut. It was epic.

Talk about collecting the footage. 

All the burps were captured over a two-day shoot. Lots of carbonated drinks were involved. We used mostly real family casting in the spot, making it more authentic and ensuring the kids were comfortable and could be themselves. Also, who wouldn't want a free pass to burp a few dozen times as loud as they can in front of their parents?

I suppose that even if people dislike belching, they might be drawn in because it's so different.

Even if you aren't a fan of burps, following a belch up with a child's laughter is immediately disarming. The kids are having fun and that puts a smile on your face, even while you're sharing the same eye-rolling reactions of the parents and teachers.

When folks see the campaign, what should they think or feel?

We want people who see the ad to come away with an unexpected glimpse into what their contribution can look like: children who aren't worried about where their next meal will come from, and instead have the opportunity to do what they're supposed to do—be goofy and silly. We hope the burps grab people's attention, stick in their memories, and help them understand the positive outcomes of the important work World Vision Canada does.

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