An economic crisis in Egypt resulted in a hunger emergency across the country in 2019, meaning people in cities were living in a constant state of food insecurity.
In March 2020, to help people grow crops to fight hunger and improve livelihoods, FMCG brand Knorr and agency FP7 McCann in Cairo created Rooftop Farms: sustainable, hydroponic gardens atop buildings in Egypt where crops could grow despite the heat.
People living in food poverty were asked to maintain the gardens, with Knorr providing guidance for how to farm successfully, as well as buying up crops, too. To promote the initiative, the brand painted murals on tall buildings on commuter routes showing families tending to the gardens.
Egypt’s largest NGO, Misr El Kheir, then helped scale the idea to 100 more rooftops. The campaign is ongoing and, to date, Knorr has converted 198 rooftops.
According to the agency, the campaign achieved $3.5m in free earned media. Knorr also enjoyed a 19% year-on-year sales volume increase, a 2.5% bump in brand awareness and 33% increase in brand relevance compared to the year before.
Instead of a simple donation, Knorr has gone the extra mile and launched a campaign rooted in local insight. By providing a long-term solution, Rooftop Farms creates food and profit for residents so they don’t have to live in a state of insecurity, while for Knorr it reinforces the link between the brand and cooking fresh. It’s refreshing to see a CSR initiative that combines great PR with a useful idea and is still relevant to the brand and product.