Subverting the hunger DRTV appeal

What we achieved

  • Strategy

    Campaign Strategy, Proposition and Messaging

  • Creative

    Approach and Concept Development

  • Production

    DRTV Production, Direction, Social Content

Over the decades, we’ve seen major progress in the work of humanitarian charities fighting hunger across the world. However, with the rise in everyday costs, global conflict and climate disasters – the hunger crisis is back on a whole new deadly scale. In fact, malnutrition caused by extreme hunger remains one of the biggest killers of young children around the world today, and is affecting more children in more places than ever before. 

So, we partnered with Save the Children International to tell the global hunger crisis like it has never been told before. The integrated campaign flips the traditional DRTV formula to overcome apathy and fatigue, reinvigorating audiences to drive urgent donations.


Breaking the fourth wall

The film follows three children with representative stories of children facing the hunger crisis around the world. Using innovative virtual production techniques, the film tells one global hunger story, taking the audience across continents through ongoing conflict in Ukraine, flooding in Pakistan and drought caused by climate change in Kenya.

Instead of a traditional third person voiceover, we hear directly from the children representing those at the heart of crisis. As each child breaks the fourth wall to address the viewer directly, they acknowledge that ‘this is an advert about hunger’, challenging audience expectations and flipping the standard practices of DRTV.

Telling a story about a subject we have covered time and time again in a new way shows our audience that the old story has changed and overcomes exposure fatigue. 

Rossella Pedaci, Global DRTV Specialist, Save the Children International

Storytelling driven by ethical principles 

There were many ethical principles involved when deciding how to tell this story, including child safeguarding, ethical implications of filming the impact of extreme hunger, and logistical challenges of filming in conflict zones. 

Given climate change is a major contributing factor to the hunger crisis appeal, how we produced this film was especially critical. With air travel calculated to be the largest factor in driving up carbon emissions totals of filming, virtual production offered an alternative method of storytelling which reduces the use of carbon emissions – while safeguarding children and communities.

So, from one location in Garden Studios London, we used virtual production to tell a global hunger story across three continents. 

Using state-of-the-art technology and purpose-built production sets, the scenes in the foreground are conceptually created, whereas the backgrounds are a mix of both real archive and software-generated footage. We then combined the latest photorealistic Unreal Engine software with source photography to create authentic environments from the regions represented in the film.

With an emphasis on authenticity, we took special care in casting, scripting, and throughout production to represent children’s stories and experiences as accurately as possible. For example, each child featured in the film spoke the language of the country they represent, while the script and set dressing were based on real life experiences.

Watch the behind-the-scenes video below to learn more about how and why we created the film. You can also hear from Rossella Pedaci, Global DRTV Specialist, and Georgina Parker, Global Head of Creative Content at Save the Children International at our Relay event, Fundraising & DRTV: Evolving creative to drive income and retention.


At a critical point of a global hunger crisis, driven by factors such as climate change, the concept had to not only cut-through to audiences, but practice what it preached in how it was made too.

Ed Hardy, Exec. Creative Director, Raw London

The campaign launched in Q3 2023. For more innovative approaches to DRTV, check out our conceptual conflict advert for British Red Cross.