Kroger Fights Child Hunger and Shows the Way for Sustainability Ads


Helping The Community


Krogers newest ad puts a spotlight on the brand’s efforts to feed hungry kids. It starts with some sobering statistics on child hunger in the US, where 1 in 5 kids aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from. Kroger has a program, called “Zero Hunger Zero Waste”, which works to distribute free meals to hungry children, and the ad describes its success in giving over 3 billion meals to the needy.

It’s a 4.0-Star ad from Kroger showing a strong potential for long-term brand growth, and it also scores an Exceptional short-term Spike score. Both those make it a worthy Ad Of The Week, of course, but what’s really interesting from our perspective is how well it presents the charitable work the brand does.

Earlier this year we published The Greenprint USA, a look at how American brands could most effectively deploy sustainability messages in their commercials. The report is packed with examples and proven strategies, and this Kroger ad shows several of the main ones. We’d like to highlight three of them here.

The first is the idea that advertising aiming to help with social issues works better when you give the audience a small but meaningful action they can do. When a problem is large – like child hunger or food waste – it’s easy for people to feel powerless. But Kroger here is offering an easy, zero-effort solution – rounding up bills – so their customers can contribute and help out in the course of their normal shopping.

The second is the “Messenger Effect” – people respond to issue-led advertising better when the calls to action or desired behavior is being modeled by a trusted messenger. There are several kinds of messenger which can make a positive impact for brands – in the case of Kroger they’re using the Krojis (Kroger Emojis). The Krojis are simple but distinctively styled animated people who have been appearing in Kroger commercials for 18 months and who already have a following online and a high recognition factor. The Krojis are designed to represent everyday Americans, and their involvement in this ad underlines how easy and simple it is to take the actions that ultimately help hungry kids.

Finally, the ad cleverly uses a dual approach for its messaging. Primarily it’s an ad about charity and helping feed hungry kids. But it’s also reinforcing Kroger’s sustainability messaging around food waste. Food waste is an important environmental issue but it naturally feels less urgent than the issue of feeding hungry children. So by folding this sustainability message on waste into the wider one on hunger, Kroger can get its point across to more people more effectively. It’s a compelling ad that’s a great example of a brand doing good and talking about it in a truly effective way.

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