The Empty Plate Emergency Appeal

The Felix Project

One of London’s leading food poverty charities, has a strong partnership with The Maverick Group and we were collectively discussing possible fund-raising programs in summer 2022.

At the same time, it became apparent that The Cost of Living Crisis was gaining momentum, and with thousands entering into food poverty on a weekly basis, it was only going to get worse over the winter period. The Cost of Living situation was set to create a double-headed crisis that existing funding and also existing resources simply couldn’t address.

A simple strategy with an important message

The answer? A pro bono campaign crafted by us for The Felix Project dubbed the Empty Plate Emergency Appeal. At its heart was a focus on raising the issue of how many children and families often go without a meal at mealtimes… and quite literally find themselves staring at an empty plate.

We started researching facts from recent YouGov reports and soon discovered a startling stat: Over 400,000 families go without a meal every day in London. So, we put this powerful and persuasive message at the heart of the campaign. We then needed something equally powerful as a visual, so we the symbol of an empty plate was used to highlight the stark issue that so many Londoners are facing on a daily basis. This meant the viewer was looking at an empty plate, just like these families.

This simple image provided the perfect canvas for The Felix Project to deliver hard hitting information directly to their prospective donors across both corporates but also to the wider public.

A clear objective – 1 million meals

Launched in October 2022 the campaign goal was solely to raise funds for The Felix Project, who could then turn that funding into meals for the hungry.

In short, the objective for the campaign was to raise the equivalent of 1 million meals.

Extending the reach

The original aim for the campaign was to raise the equivalent of 1 million meals. Of course, any additional increase in awareness, new corporate sponsors or increase in volunteering would be an added bonus.

Not only did the campaign absolutely blow the original 1 million meal target out the water - with that aim being achieved in 5 weeks of launch - but we had a host of celebrities and corporates sharing the campaign creative on their own social channels.

From the likes of Jamie Oliver, Fearne Cotton and David Morrissey all lending their social power to the cause, to household brands like Mulberry, Abel & Cole, Lime Bikes and Hello Fresh, all pushing the Empty Plate Emergency Appeal assets on their channels.

Alongside the social media exposure, the campaign also ran on London Live, with Fearne Cotton further adding her voice to the appeal, providing her V/O for free. And sound agency Coda, also providing the sound mixing pro bono.

In early January 2023, the campaign launched on Piccadilly Lights, in the heart of London, and off the success of the campaign, we were provided numerous OOH opportunities thanks to JC Decaux which ran from March.

Dining out on exceptional results

Over the campaign period (October 2022 – March 2023) the campaign raised over £545,000 which equates to over 2,450,000 meals for Londoners in need.

The campaign ROI was at £22.47 for every £1 spent.

The Felix Project also carried out a brand tracking survey, which has come back showing a 1% increase in both prompted and unprompted awareness over the course of the campaign. Which is a fantastic added result given that this was never a campaign objective.

The Empty Plate Emergency Appeal has also provided the Felix Project, with an 18.75% increase in new one-off donors compared to the prior year. As well as over 220 new regular givers, providing an average of £17.3 each and expected life-time value of £138k, this represents more than a 400% increase in new regular-givers compared to the same period in 2021, and 10-fold increase from 2020. And finally, the charity has seen a 33% increase in high-net-worth donors compared to the prior year.