Campaign: Save the Flavors
Agency: BBDO San Francisco
Client: Seeds of Change

Would you sink your teeth into an endangered species? This is the question posed by a new campaign asking consumers to rethink their approach on food consumption.

BBDO San Francisco and the organic food company Seeds of Change are encouraging people to save endangered plant varieties. The “Save the Flavors” campaign is focusing its efforts on the Cherokee Purple Tomato, a delicious variety which has been identified as being “at risk.” Seeds of Change are asking people to “Know It, Grow It, Eat It”—in other words to keep at-risk varieties alive via home horticulture. But it’s the latest stunt in the campaign that has people talking.

Chef Hugh Acheson invited people to the Empire State Building to try a particular tasting menu. The event was called “Endangered Eats,” and guests were told they would be served endangered species. The case study film shows some pretty nervous individuals signing up to attend the tasting, including one customer announcing “If they serve bald eagles I will not be happy.” The relief is palpable when the true nature of the endangered species is revealed. Even more so when it’s announced that by buying seeds yourself you can help to save these rare breeds.

The trick-event is a style of marketing we’re now fairly familiar with such as Lidl’s fake “Dill” restaurant being the most notable. It’s also reminiscent of the rather bonkers Lionfish campaign that picked up a Pencil at D&AD this year. It’s clearly a mechanism that works well at challenging preconceptions. Thankfully no pandas were harmed during the making of this campaign.