Raw London scores highest audience vote at Creative Shootout 2023

We’re so excited to have taken 2nd Place at The Creative Shootout for Charity of the Year, FoodCycle! After placing as one of 9 finalist agencies, our team battled it out in front of a live audience at Picturehouse Piccadilly. To top it off, we even won the popular vote, with 77% of the audience voting ‘yes’ to our campaign idea (the highest score of the night!).

A huge shout out to our brave team; Hannah Akitt, Strategist, Shaneen Olmos, Social Media Manager, and two of our talented Creatives, Trey Kyeremeh and Asia Zdunik.

Raw Team wins popular vote at Creative Shootout 2023
Raw London finalist team receiving runner-up award at Creative Shootout 2023

The low-down this year

On 26th January 2023, creativity took centre stage as The Creative Shootout returned, for their Charity of the Year, FoodCycle. 

Nine creative agency finalist teams battled it out live on stage at Picturehouse Central in Soho. The response had to be based on this year’s surprise brief from FoodCycle. Not to mention this was after only receiving the brief four hours before pitching their idea, live on stage!

And the stakes were indeed high, with the winner gaining FoodCycle as a client for a campaign. The winning campaign receives £10,000 prize money and media support from The Guardian, Channel 4, Acast and OnePoll.

Why FoodCycle and why now?  

With 54 UK locations, FoodCycle is on a mission to make food poverty, loneliness and food waste a thing of the past, for every community. By hosting weekly community dining across the UK, they feed the hungry and give company to the lonely in communities.  And provide delicious meals and great conversation, using food which would otherwise go to waste. 

The year, the competition brief was centred on the current economic climate. The cost of living crisis is a huge driving force behind UK households having to choose between heating and eating. Which is why the demand for FoodCycle’s services has never been more critical. 

The winning team needed to demonstrate three things. How the campaign could increase awareness and understanding of FoodCycle to help establish 100 locations across the UK by 2023, highlight the benefits of community dining and inspire 10,600 volunteers to get involved in 2023. So what are we waiting for?

Avengers, Assemble…  

So, we needed to come up with an idea that would get the nation talking, spark intrigue and give people the bravery to show up to their first FoodCycle meal – whether as a volunteer or a guest. 

We needed to recontextualise the shame and secrecy that surrounds using any kind of free service. And debunk any myths about what the perfect volunteer might look like – showing people that no one turns up to FoodCycle empty handed. Everyone has something to bring.

In fact, they are key to making the experience a success.

Now cue #TheSecretIngredient campaign!

Our campaign celebrates the diversity and inclusion of our FoodCycle guests, volunteers and supporters for what they each bring individually to the table. 

From the young dad who brings his young daughter and shows off her new hairstyle he’s been perfecting each week, to an older man, looking for company, sharing his career advice with someone who’s recently found themselves unemployed. 

Everyone brings something different to a FC community meal and everyone gets to take a slice of the pie away. Feeling welcomed into a community, fed a hot healthy meal and maybe even made a new friend. 

Our campaign proposition and hashtag was all about turning the idea of secrecy on its head, making it instead something playful and joyful. Inspired by popular, kinda cringey, tabloid headlines – Community Dining and indeed FoodCycle, becomes “the secret to” tackling food poverty, loneliness and food waste.

But the project itself is nothing without its people. They are #TheSecretIngredient bringing it all together. Turning what would be a solution to food waste and food poverty into an experience that benefits the mental health and wellbeing of a whole community.

Why was it popular? Here’s our thoughts…

1. Reflecting the diversity and individuality of each community

By celebrating diversity and individuality, our campaign creative works across a varied audience and will help us address the barriers to both attending and volunteering.

2. Sharing local stories to a national audience

The concept is adaptable to fitting a national or regional narrative. This allows for both targeted volunteer recruitment and wider brand awareness boosting.

3. Not just a hashtag, but a real-time story thread

We developed the creative intentionally to give breathing room for real stories. This was factored into the hashtag, idea and visuals, so they could be own-able by volunteers, guests and supporters.

4. The community heroes are the star of the show

Our focus was not just around the benefits of community dining, but what makes that so special. The secret ingredient is what people’s differences can bring to the table and what it can mean to communities. 

This campaign idea wasn’t just a flash in a pan. It was built with the potential to go beyond 2023, beyond awareness raising and volunteer recruitment. The idea was shaped to become a sustainable campaign that can be developed with learnings over the coming months and years to help FoodCycle achieve amazing things.

The audience were given a flavour of the campaign and after letting it marinate, we awaited their verdict. Let’s put it this way, they loved it. The team received 77% “love-ability” score, landing them the highest vote of the night. 

So what did our team takeaway?

As well as capturing the live audience’s attention on the day and recovering from the adrenaline rush – the team share some of their takeaways that they will be applying to their everyday roles going forward…

“When faced with a challenge that gives you the jitters then it’s the challenge for you. Approach it with curiosity, believe in what you bring to the room, and with your team give it all you’ve got. For me, doing the scary things is where I find the most professional and personal growth”

Shaneen Olmos, Social Media Manager

“If you look good, you’ll do good. When you’re co-ordinating group outfits ask yourself on a spectrum of Destiny’s Child to early-era Little Mix… what’s the vibe? If you’re not remotely concerned about that (weird!), then make sure you have a team where your strengths are highlighted and weaknesses are covered by someone else’s strengths.”

 Trey Kyeremeh, Junior Creative

“It’s okay to doubt yourself and ask your teammates for support. It’s the same in my everyday role, when we collaborate and share our thoughts we’re able to get to the place we need to. Rather than individually holding onto something until I feel it’s ready, it’s actually better sometimes to chat through ideas. It gives you the opportunity to learn and get the best result with the help of team insights.” 

Asia Zdunik, Junior Artworker

“I think for me it’s to have confidence in your gut feeling, don’t overthink a brilliantly simple idea and always go back to cross reference against your objectives.” 

Hannah Akitt, Strategist

Congratulations (and see you next year!) 👏

The team did us proud, particularly in receiving the reception they did across the creative industry. We want to extend our appreciation to Creative Shootout for shortlisting us as finalists. And finally, to thank the industry professionals involved, the live audience and congratulate our fellow agency finalists.  

Check out our Creative Shootout winning campaign with Fareshare, driving a staggering 900% increase in brand awareness and sign-ups.

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