Waitrose presents live feed to its farms in new ad campaign

Supermarkets and other major food providers are increasingly obsessed in charting the provenance of the food they supply, and in its latest ad campaign, Waitrose goes the extra mile, presenting live footage from its farms.

The campaign, created by adam&eveDDB, sees cameras planted within the dairy and free range hen farms that provide food for Waitrose. Viewers can tune into the live feed via YouTube (see below), and the brand has also cut down a series of short films for online and TV from the footage. These tend to be animals-amusingly-looking-into-the-camera style shots, though the live feed provides more meditative footage – when I tuned in this morning, for example, it was focused on bees entering a hive, while last night it just showed flowers swaying in the breeze.

If it feels a little over-the-top for a food brand to have to provide footage of its farms to prove itself ‘real and honest’, it is worth noting the recent outrage aimed at Tesco, when it created a range of fictional, British-sounding farm names to sell food that was often sourced overseas. Plus it’s a nice gimmick for Waitrose, which fits quite neatly with our perception of the brand as being one of good quality – McDonald’s regularly touts the farm credentials for the food it sells, for example, but always sounds slightly desperate when doing so.

Alongside online, Waitrose will live stream footage from the farms to a number of major UK train stations, including Waterloo. This aspect is reminiscent of an artwork by US artist Paul Pfeiffer, who back in spring 2001, displayed footage of chicks on a New York State farm hatching and developing into full-grown chickens on a series of monitors around the World Trade Center, including its subway. The artwork, as I understand it, was intended to surprise and discombobulate passers-by who were more used to advertising messages in the spaces.

Now, with advertising increasingly needing to come up with ways of intriguing us enough to pay attention to it, we see a brand taking the same approach, though of course with a sales message firmly in the background. I haven’t seen the station feeds in the flesh, but hope they are as subtly branded as the online footage, which only features a Waitrose logo in the bottom corner. The thought of seeing screens displaying swaying flowers during the evening rush hour seems kind of surreal and delightful, and certainly something I’d pause to look at.

Agency: adam&eveDDB
CCO: Ben Priest
ECDs: Ben Tollett, Richard Brim
Creatives: Miles Carter, Sophie Knox
Production company: Stink
Directors: Wilkins & Maguire

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