A Quietly Devastating Message About Child Hunger

CPAG and Creature London subvert expectations in a school lunchroom

A kid's imagination is a wondrous thing. But dreaming and playing pretend won't fill their empty bellies.

In the PSA below, Creature London and veteran director Adam Berg deliver a devastating meditation on youth hunger for U.K. nonprofit Child Poverty Action Group.

The action's set in a school cafeteria. We watch as burgers stacked one atop the other magically appear. Donuts roll like freshly inflated tires. Fruit and popcorn fly everywhere, raining down on the tables to everyone's delight.

All of these tykes have plenty to it eat! Don't they?

No, not all of them, as we learn in a spot that subverts expectations to deliver a gut punch at the end.

CPAG | Imagine

The light tone—enhanced by a whimsical version of "Food, Glorious Food" on the soundtrack—sets up an affecting finale.

"Some kids only have their imagination to feed them," the ad says, as a boy opens his lunchbox. But there's nothing inside. The youngster sits alone, clearly ravenous, pretending to eat as the camera pulls away. His classmates and the earlier abundance have vanished; of course, the fantastical feast only existed in his mind.

This scenario unfurls in pitch-perfect style. Viewers will suspect the jolly vibe of the ad's first half won't last, and the memorable twist packs so much quiet power. It doesn't require repeat viewings to make a point. One helping sticks to the ribs.

The script apparently stemmed from a real-life episode chronicled in the British press. That adds an extra layer of heartbreak to the storyline.

"Child poverty doesn't have to exist; it is an economic problem that can be solved by our government," Creature says in a blog post. "The campaign aims to raise awareness about rising child poverty levels in the U.K., and the impact poverty has on children, as well as to place additional pressure on the U.K.'s leaders to implement policies that could change millions of children's lives."

Along with the commercial, the push includes digital, print and OOH elements.

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