by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) DDB South Africa gets the message about keeping fare fresh across to foodies on Instagram with a campaign for Glad that is at once personal, cheeky and thought-provoking.

It’s no surprise that #food, #foodporn and #foodie hashtags count for tens of millions of entries on Instagram — right up there with #selfie, #cat, #dog, and #baby. There’s only one thing that’s better than eating a delicious meal, and that’s taking a photograph of it (before you graze, of course). The union of food and photographs is a flourishing love story, as evidenced by the happy marriage of this pairing on Instagram: the mobile photo-sharing site is inundated with foodie photies of every description.

Beautifully prepared

People love to take pictures of beautifully prepared food — whether it’s a plate that they’ve made themselves, or that has been served up to them at a restaurant. Amateur and professional chefs alike have created accounts with massive followings. For example, @davidchang who over 446 000 followers and is the genius that spawned the Momofuku culinary empire (New York, Sydney and Toronto), as well as Lucky Peach, the unparalleled mag for foodies. Back home, there’s the drool-worthy @drizzleanddip — aka Sam Linsell — who is a food stylist, writer, cookbook author and ‘hunter of the delicious’.

But what, oh what, do Chang or Linsell do once they’ve photographed the beetroot, salmon gravadlax or braised and unctuous brisket, and gone click? There surely are leftovers; what happens to these?

Glad Cling Wrap, the brand that saves “good food from going bad”, decided to create a campaign that would also drive awareness about food wastage. The idea was to engage Instagram users who photograph food, and to get them to think about edibles that get thrown away; why food gets turfed, when and how, and to ponder whether — with a little care and Glad ‘magic’ — said food could still be eaten a day or two later.

Throw away tons of food

Why is this important? Restaurants and stores throw away tons of food that have passed its usability date; how many times have we thrown out food that has gone bad in the fridge or on the shelf? This is an international problem. In the US, enough food is thrown away each day to fill the 90 000-seat Rose Bowl football stadium, according to researchers from the University of California. Here’s another statistic: according to the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) the average US family throws away US$1600 worth of food every year, or 25% of all food bought.

But back to the campaign, InstaGlad. DDB SA downloaded hundreds of Instagrammers’ food pics, in order to ‘preserve’ them in a Glad product. The digital mavens at DDB SA Photoshopped the pics to make them look as if they were in plastic, like a sandwich bag, ziplock bag or Glad wrap, yet still looking as good and as fresh as before. After two days, the picture was tagged with #NoWastedFood, and sent back to the original Instagrammer.

Everyday food lovers, as well as chefs and food critics, along with food celebrities, were targeted in the campaign. Many of them replied with remarks, meaning that the interactions were seen by that Instagrammer’s followers as well.

Glad’s brand message is to promote freshness in food, and the Facebook page has regular tips on how to keep things fresher for longer. “Fresh is how we roll”, the brand declares and, saving food aside, there are also other hints to do with food, for better health and safety, for example.

Not without risk

Glad’s Instagram engagement wasn’t without risk. It was cheeky because the targeted social advertising depended upon using people’s own photos to create a marketing message. The reason it worked is because Glad associated it with an important issue — food wastage. This was smartly tied to the campaign and really seems to have worked with the targeted foodies, many of whom replied with ‘likes’ and comments. If it had been a purely commercial message, it could have gone horribly wrong.

As it is, Instagram switched off the @GladSA Instagram account, because — like Twitter — it has automatic limits that an account can post before it gets blocked, in order to prevent spam. This is unfortunate in this case because it would have made a brilliant case study on how to engage an audience on Instagram.

Overall, a smart campaign using social media in a targeted, fun and socially conscious way. Thanks, DDB South Africa and Glad, for always keeping it fresh!


Advertising agency: DDB, South Africa
Executive creative director: Liam Wielopolski
Art Director: Nicola Wielopolski
Copywriter: Lawrence Katz
Digital creative director: Roberto Adamo
Digital creative: Johan Wepener
Junior copywriter: Litha Mbotshelwa
Social marketing manager: Gadija Daniels
Designer: Melissa Grundlingh


Oresti PatriciosAd of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at

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