Show Don’t Tell: Experiential Marketing Campaign Conveys Impact of Food Waste

Feedback Experiential Marketing Campaign Feeds 10,000 in NYC. Photo by Kristin Twiford.

Today the global nonprofit Feedback is leading an effort to feed 10,000 people in New York City through its Feeding the 5000 campaign. Every meal served is made from fresh food that would have otherwise been wasted.

The nonprofit and its partners, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the New York City Mayor’s Office and City Harvest teamed up to hand out 5,000 lunches in Union Square, and 5,000 more through City Harvest’s networks.

The event in Union Square was a classic example of show don’t tell. Passersby got to watch cooking demonstrations, see the food being prepared, and participate in a number of interactive experiences.

“The impact that we want to have is first of all to show that all of this perfectly delicious food shouldn’t be wasted, it should be enjoyed by everyone,” said Feedback’s Global Campaigns Manager for Feeding the 5000, Dominika Jarosz, “and secondly, the wider impact is we want to mobilize an international revolution against food waste.”

Jarosz explains that as passersby grab a free lunch, stop by vendor booths and share their personal experience on social media, they help Feeding the 5000’s message reach a broader audience.


Feedback’s partner organizations set up booths to educate New Yorkers about the impact of food waste as they passed by during their lunch break. Many of them created opportunities for photo ops and encouraged people to share their experience online.

For example, the Center for Biological Diversity set up a photo booth with fun animal masks, and told passersby about how food waste affects wildlife.

A snapshot from the Center for Biological Diversity's photo booth. Photo by Kristin Twiford.

A snapshot from the Center for Biological Diversity’s photo booth. Photo by Kristin Twiford.

Sustainable America invited passersby to try out their “blender bike,” a stationary bike that powered a blender attached to the handlebars. How can anyone say no to that photo op? Riding a bike and making a smoothie all at once! Check out this video to hear from Sustainable America on why the “blender bike” was the perfect way to show, not tell people about eliminating food waste.


The Takeaway

Experiential marketing is a powerful way to share a message. Not only are the people who walked through Union Square today going to tell their friends about the ratatouille they ate from ingredients that would have otherwise been wasted, but they’re also going to post pictures of that ratatouille and their “blender bike” smoothie on social media. And, as Jarosz pointed out, they will take ownership of their experience and tell the story in their own way. Here’s a taste of their stories!

Cover photo by Kristin Twiford.

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