Locally led teams help drive global hunger relief initiative

Rounding its sixth year in 2012, Yum! Brands' World Hunger Relief program spans more than 120 countries; more than 38,000 of the company's KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants; and 1.4 million employees and franchise associates.

Client
Yum! Brands (Louisville, KY)

PR agency
Weber Shandwick (Chicago)

Campaign
Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief

Duration
August 1-December 2012

Budget
$100,000

Rounding its sixth year in 2012, Yum! Brands' World Hunger Relief program spans more than 120 countries; more than 38,000 of the company's KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants; and 1.4 million employees and franchise associates.

The campaign's focus is raising awareness, encouraging volunteerism, and generating funds for the United Nations World Food Program and other hunger relief agencies, and is not linked to product sales or promotion for the food company.

"About 1 billion people are starving, impoverished, and in need of assistance," explains Jonathan Blum, chief public affairs officer at Yum! Brands. "We're the largest restaurant company in the world and we have both a privilege and a responsibility to give back."

Longtime AOR for PR Weber Shandwick has helped drive the program since its inception.

Strategy
"The campaign is complex, yet very simple," says Weber EVP Michael Schiferl. "Our strategy is to rally people through unified messages worldwide, but the local implementation and resonance is critical."

Regular calls are held with several hundred Yum! employees, who serve as worldwide campaign ambassadors and coordinate activations to discuss local market best practices.

Christina Aguilera, an unpaid global spokesperson since 2009, was featured in PSAs, in-store posters, ads, and on the campaign's website.

Christina Aguilera has been a supporter of the World Hunger Relief initiative since 2009.

Tactics
Video and print PSAs featuring Aguilera and Yum! Brands' CEO David Novak launched in the US in October. The singer promoted the PSA on her social media channels and website, and the team worked with her to drive media and blog coverage.

Novak's Lift a Life Foundation, along with the USA Today Foundation launched a Lead2Feed World Hunger Leadership Challenge in September to mobilize US high school students to address hunger in their communities.

Numerous resources and materials were made available for all restaurant brands' social media properties and websites. Weber also conducted outreach to a broad array of traditional media outlets and bloggers.

All three brands executed hundreds of offline and online promotions around the world, such as an unpaid partnership between Pizza Hut and Hulu. The streaming website gave a free two-week Hulu Plus subscription to people who donated on Pizza Hut's website.

International examples include 50 PR events in 18 Chinese cities. The South African KFC operating team conducted a fundraiser in which adventurer Riaan Manser biked a 4,100-kilometer route spelling out "Hope" on a limited-calorie diet to highlight the issue of hunger.

Weber helped arrange for online crowdsourcing fundraising site Razoo to host a Global Day of Online Giving on World Food Day, October 16.

Results
"We raised $30.2 million in 2011 and hit a record $33 million in 2012," Blum says.

The campaign helped provide 132 million meals in 2012, up from 120 million in 2011. More than 5,000 media placements globally resulted in more than 4 billion impressions in 2012; approximately 4,000 placements globally resulted in 3.5 billion impressions in 2011.

Outlets covering the story included The New York Times, Nation's Restaurant News, Entertainment Tonight, Fox Business Network, and USAToday.com.

In-store promotions are estimated to have reached more than 115 million people weekly.

Future
Yum! Brands wants to raise at least $36 million in 2013.


PRWeek's View
This is certainly a premier example of effectively managing a large-scale global campaign. Yum! Brands is clearly committed to the cause and its authenticity is evident. Laser focus on the cause and not tying the campaign to product sales and promotion is laudable. Also, kudos to the company for recognizing early on that being too prescriptive would hamper engagement and for its willingness to let its vast network accomplish the campaign objectives in myriad ways. With a focused team, the effort seems on track to continue to expand in 2013.

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