A Choir of Children Diminishes One by One In This Sobering World Hunger PSA

The ad, backed by John Hegarty, debuted at Cannes Lions

Kids sing a rendition of Cat Stevens' 'How Can I Tell You' in heartbreaking hunger PSA SAWA Global Cinema Advertising Association
Headshot of Minda Smiley

The UN World Food Programme has released a 60-second PSA that vividly brings to life the planet’s hunger crisis, which is particularly severe in war-torn countries like Syria.

Created by The Garage Soho, the incubator formed by BBH co-founder John Hegarty, the short film will air on cinema screens in more than 30 countries thanks to a tie-up with SAWA, the Global Cinema Advertising Association. The spot will run from September through November of this year.

The “Feed Our Future” campaign features a group of children singing a rendition of “How Can I Tell You” by Cat Stevens while rubble and destruction surround them. As the film plays out, the kids begin to disappear within the blink of an eye, until there’s only one little girl left. It concludes by reminding viewers that 3 million children die of hunger each year, and encourages them to visit the World Food Programme’s website to help.

At Cannes Lions, the campaign debuted at a session with speakers including former chairman of the festival Terry Savage and World Food Programme executive director David Beasley, as well as the UN organization’s country director in Syria. Hegarty himself also participated in the session.

The spot comes on the heels of a similar effort in 2018, which was also helmed by The Garage Soho. In last year’s campaign, a woman named Miriam is seen being lauded by the press for her “groundbreaking medical research.” As she accepts an award for her research and prepares to give a speech, she instead tells the audience that she did not, in fact, discover any breakthrough or even graduate from medical school, because she died from hunger as an 8-year-old.

“Last year, we saw the impact movie audiences can have when they are moved by compassion and urgency to help achieve a world without hunger,” said Beasley in a statement. “Thanks to the continued support from SAWA and the Global Cinema Advertising companies, we believe even more people will be motivated this year to join the cause and help ensure that no children no longer have to worry where their next meal will come from.”

@Minda_Smiley minda.smiley@adweek.com Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.