Shire Pharmaceuticals starts "The Great Food Fight"

When Philabundance asked Shire Pharmaceuticals for capital support, Shire did more than cut a $25,000 check - it also proposed a regional high school food drive.

Client: Shire Pharmaceuticals (Philadelphia, PA)

PR Agency: Simon Public Relations Group (Philadelphia, PA)

Campaign: Shire's The Great Food Fight!

Duration: May 1 – November 17, 2010

Budget: about $50,000

When hunger relief nonprofit Philabundance asked Shire Pharmaceuticals for capital support, Shire did more than cut a $25,000 check - it also proposed a regional high school food drive.

“We look for projects that can positively impact the community and engage our employees,” explains Matt Cabrey, Shire's senior director of corporate communications. “We saw opportunity to help Philabundance and its audience engage high school students, and get awareness for Shire as a leader in corporate philanthropy.” 

Shire's local AOR Simon PR helped devise and execute “Shire's The Great Food Fight,” which aimed to collect 25 tons of food.


To support schools, which Cabrey says are also struggling, Shire planned to award $10,000 to the school that collected the most food per pound per student. A $5,000 second prize was added after the team realized the pound per student criteria wouldn't reward the highest tonnage collected.

The drive focused on high schools in five southeastern Pennsylvania counties. Campaign branding was designed to appeal to students and compliment the Shire and Philabundance brands.

Direct outreach, social media outreach, media relations, and events drove awareness. 


A regional news radio station announced the campaign in August. The team e-mailed nearly 200 school administrators and followed up via phone to garner participation.

A toolkit on helped schools develop and execute drives. Philabundance promoted the campaign on its Facebook page, and Shire employees volunteered as school liaisons.

The campaign launched at a pep rally/press event at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School on September 29. Representatives from 21 participating schools, Shire, and Philabundance attended. Shire displayed and donated 100 pounds of food to jumpstart the drive. The team conducted video interviews with students at the rally and posted them on YouTube.

Shire held an internal launch event and drive.

Media relations continued throughout the campaign. Beverly Volpe, management supervisor at Simon PR, notes that pitching personalized letters to the editor on behalf of school administrators was key.

Winners were announced at a November 17 press conference at Philabundance's warehouse. Video was posted online.


Overall, 25,000 students collected 64 tons of food - 13% of all food collected in Philabundance drives in 2010. More than 30 Shire employees volunteered, and the company collected 1 ton of food. The agency reports 8.5 million media impressions.


The team is planning a spring 2012 regional high school food drive.

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