Good enough to eat: Edible posters for the V&A’s Museum of Childhood

Ad agency AMV BBDO teamed up with illustrator Rob Flowers to create edible posters for an exhibition about food

Children are notoriously fussy eaters. Convincing anyone under the age of ten to finish their fruit and vegetables often involves some skilful negotiating (or alternatively, desperate pleading) and the promise of something much sweeter in return.

In an attempt to get children excited about eating their greens, the V&A Museum of Childhood put on a free workshop where children were asked to invent a dish. Food experimentalists Bompass & Parr were then tasked with brining their ideas to life for an edible exhibition at the museum. The studio created a glow-in-the-dark ice cream using carrots and broccoli and cucumber-flavoured bubbles as well as a ‘parsnip tornado’.

Ad agency AMV BBDO worked with illustrator Rob Flowers to create edible posters and tickets for the exhibition. Flowers’ illustrations depict dishes created for the event and posters were printed using fruit and vegetable-flavoured inks. 

“We found this company in America that makes flavoured inks and injects them into a really thin piece of flexible paper,” says AMV BBDO Creative Director Neil Clarke. “It’s not rice paper – I think it’s made out of a combination of vegetable oils or something like that.”

Each poster features a different dish and is flavoured to match: the parsnip tornado poster tastes like parsnips while others tasted of mango and cucumber. “We had a huge variety of flavours on the day,” adds Clarke.

The posters were a first for AMV BBDO but Clarke says they came out looking (and tasting) even better than expected. “It took about a month from sending the artwork to America to getting the first batch back and we were pretty nervous,” says Clarke. “We weren’t sure if they were going to taste nice or even be legible…. What surprised us was that the final print quality was as good if not better than a normal laser jet printer.”

Some flavours were more popular than others though Clarke says they were all recognisable. “The parsnip one was bizarrely sweet but the mango went down well,” he adds.

AMV BBDO commissioned Flowers to work on the project after looking for an illustrator that could create images of foodstuffs with human characteristics. Flowers’ portfolio includes illustrations of everything from Christmas puddings to burgers complete with facial features. And it turns out he had been longing to create edible posters for years.

“The previous campaigns for the Museum of Childhood have always been quite colourful and thought-provoking – like you’re jumping into a kid’s head,” says Clarke. “What’s lovely about Rob’s work is that it’s so colourful and vibrant. He puts so much detail into everything.”

The posters are the latest in a series of imaginative campaigns for the Museum of Childhood. In 2015 AMV BBDO worked with artists to create vinyl stickers for drains and street lamps, turning them into works of art. Last year, it teamed up with Psyop and Becky and Joe to create models based on children’s imagery friends.

“The great thing about the Museum of Childhood is that their core idea is capturing children’s imagination, and thinking ‘how can we put on events that inspire children to look at the world differently?'” says Clarke.

“For us it’s great because it’s about engaging with children and parents and working with really interesting designers and illustrators to bring that level of craft and detail [to each project]. It’s a dream brief…. Everyone who worked on it from the account handlers to the creative team just fell back in love with being a kid again. You’re sitting eating a poster that tastes of mango and critiquing whether a cucumber looks playful enough or what an edible bubble should taste like.”

Credits

Agency: AMV BBDO
ECDs: Adrian Rossi, Alex Grieve
Creative directors: Neil Clarke & Jay Phillips, Mike Sutherland & Ant Nelson
Copywriter: Neil Clarke
Art Director: Jay Phillips
Head of Design: Chris Chapman
Illustrator Rob Flowers (Blink Art)
Production Company: Bompas & Parr

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