In summer 2020, Covid-19 stopped travel in its tracks: with none of the usual migrant workforce to pick the harvest, the supermarket shelves were emptying fast. While there was plenty of food in the fields, there was no-one to harvest it.
The idea was to revive the celebrated "Land Army" campaign from the Second World War, which had kept the nation fed. This led to the launch of a new Land Army-inspired campaign, to mobilise 70,000 volunteers to help with the harvests and put food on the supermarket shelves.
The campaign involved a collaboration between the NFU, Defra, Waitrose, Adam & Eve/DDB, MG OMD, Wonderhood Studios and ITV, overseeing a three-stage plan. Experts, editorial and airtime were used to encourage and inspire, via ITV’s This Morning show. A volunteer recruitment drive was run across ITV, the ITV Hub, social and CRM, while an emotive black-and-white commercial invoking memories of the effort of the Land Army during the war was produced, with volunteers signing up to a special recruitment website.
To thank all those involved, a documentary featured on primetime ITV, following the volunteers’ stories and fronted by Alan Titchmarsh, Amanda Owen and Angelica Bell. The show highlighted an extraordinary “Summer on the farm”, one where the nation had come together and mirrored the amazing endeavours of the original Land Army of 1939-45.
Judges said the campaign connected to viewers’ emotions and achieved great reach, not only through the campaign but also through further earned media. They added: “There was a great response from volunteers and a strong use of ITV’s owned channels and assets. A great example of collaboration.”
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