'Do Play With Your Food' says Ella's Kitchen in new brand campaign

The work, by Havas London, encourages parents to allow toddlers to experience food in fun and different ways

By Creative Salon

“Eat, Play, Love” is the theme of the latest campaign for Ella’s Kitchen by Havas London, which rejects the belief that children shouldn’t play with their food.

The campaign centres around a new film, which runs from today on VOD and social media. In it, a group of babies and toddlers run, walk and crawl toward an installation made of colourful fruit and vegetables, only to be stopped in their tracks by the message it conveys: “Don’t Play With Food”. Thankfully, they’re below reading age – and there are no adults around to stop them.

The campaign — the brand’s first since 2018 — coincides with with Ella’s Kitchen calling on the UK Government to implement the National Food Strategy recommendation of amending the early years curriculum (Early Years Foundation Stage) to include sensory food education as an early learning goal.

In it, it states: “Children should start their food education as young as possible, while their minds and palates are still open to new experiences. ‘Sensory food education’ should be added to the curriculum for nursery and reception classes. This teaching method – in which children are introduced to new foods and encouraged to explore them with all five senses – has been shown to increase children’s willingness to try fruit and vegetables.”

Despite such findings, Ella’s Kitchen found that two-thirds of parents (62 per cent) still tell their little ones not to play with food, while a third (27 per cent) think it isn’t good behaviour. This is why “Eat, Play, Love” aims to educate parents on the long-term benefits of disregarding conventional wisdom to allow their children to play with their food. 

The film will be distributed via Good-Loop — the purpose-powered advertising platform that unites brands, consumers, charities and premium publishers to create a more meaningful advertising experience. Good-Loop, like both Ella’s Kitchen and Havas London, is a certified B Corporation – companies using business as a force for good by putting both people and planet on an equal footing with profit.

The film – a co-production between Havas Studios and Great Guns – was directed by Ben Brand. It was created by Diogo Abrantes & Chico Barrera at Havas London. Media planning and buying was handled by Havas Media.

Mark Cuddigan, chief executive at Ella’s Kitchen, says: “At Ella’s Kitchen, we firmly believe that children should play with their food. All the research suggests that doing so – and by experiencing food in a sensory way from a young age – leads to healthier long-term eating habits, and the associated health benefit that brings. That’s why this campaign is so important, and why we’re calling on the Government to adopt the National Food Strategy’s recommendation of adding sensory food education to the early years curriculum as a matter of urgency. 

Mark Whelan, group chief creative officer at Havas UK, added: “Turns out my kids were right all along. And what a joyful way to spread the word from the good people of Ella’s Kitchen.”

Katie Keith, global head of content at Havas Studios and head of production at Havas London, said: “‘Eat, Play, Love’ really shows that it does truly take a Village. Not only enabling an exciting collaboration between Havas Studios and Havas London but also the fresh opportunity for a co-production with Great Guns, allowing us to work with the fantastic, upcoming director Ben Brand. Together we've successfully executed Ella’s Kitchen’s vision and the result is a joyous little film with an important message at its heart.”


Project name: Ella’s Kitchen – Eat, Play, Love

Client: Celia Pearman, Marketing Director, Ella’s Kitchen; Angie Turner, Senior Communications Manager, Ella’s Kitchen; Georgie Morgan, Senior Brand Manager, Ella’s Kitchen  

Creative agency: Havas London

Group CCO, Havas UK: Mark Whelan

Creatives: Chico Barrera and Diogo Abrantes

Account team: Hollie Loxley (Managing Partner), Andrew Symonds (Account Director), Lily Rocker (Account Manager)

Agency producer (film): Sophie Honour, Charlotte Lonngren

Agency Assistant Producer (film): Ella Myerscough-McClymont

Agency producer (digital): Evie Ungemuth

Executive Strategy Director: Britt Iversen

Senior Strategist: Kerrie Boyes

Media agency: Havas Media

Media planning team: Andrew Darby, Emma Castledine, Hannah Richards 

Production company: Havas Studios x Great Guns

Executive Producer: Flo Clive, Kojo Abban

Producer: Rosa Junkovic

Director: Ben Brand

DoP: Michael Paleodimos

Offline Post Production Producer: Tom Lacey

Offline Editor: Dfran Difrancesco

Audio Post Production: Offline Audio

Audio Producer: Sam Brock

Sound Engineer: Rick Morris

Online Post Production: Absolute and Framestore

Executive Producer (Absolute): Jenna Le Noury

Senior Producer (Absolute): Rosanne Crisp

Production Assistant (Absolute): Yasmin Tilly

Flame Artist: Milo Paterson and Joseph Tang

Colourist: Stef Perry

Soundtrack composers: Hugh Goldsmith and Paul Visser

Soundtrack Produced by: GOLDCRUSH

Music Label: Hotspring Music

Music Supervisor: George O’Brien

Narrator: Charlotte East with Just Voices


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