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Last month, Burger King proposed a collaboration burger with rival McDonald’s to honor International Peace Day on September 21. McDonald’s politely declined the invitation, with CEO Steve Easterbrook stating via Facebook that the competition between the brands “is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war.”
But McDonald’s didn’t pass on International Peace Day altogether. Instead, the company committed to supporting the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and raising awareness for the plight of refugees around the world.
McDonald’s commissioned one of its creative agencies to produce a non-branded commercial that highlights the connection between war and hunger. The commercial, entitled “Symbols,” is a call to action for donations to the WFP and will be promoted globally through TV and digital advertising time donated by McDonald’s.
“The ad we’ve created and its message about war and hunger will be shared on television and in digital placements in nearly 40 countries around the globe as we invite people to donate to the World Food Programme,” Easterbrook says in a statement on Facebook that posted yesterday. “I hope you’ll share it with your friends and make a needed contribution so that those displaced can get the help they desperately need.”
McDonald’s is also raising awareness for the WFP through a donated Twitter trend, #peaceday.
According to the WFP, more people are displaced from their homes today than at any time since World War II. Some 60 million refugees have been forced from their homes due to global conflict. The WFP will use funds raised from International Peace Day to support refugees in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen.
Other food brands joining in the efforts to raise money for the WFP include Cargill, McCain Foods, and Burger King, which continued with its plans for a Peace Day collaboration burger with four other restaurant brands.
“Today is about people coming together across regions and cultures to take action for a hunger-free and peaceful world,” says WFP executive director Ertharin Cousin in a statement. “Food assistance plays a powerful role in times of conflict by saving lives and alleviating suffering. Food brings and keeps families together. Food security gives families hope during desperate times while eliminating the need for families to resort to extreme and harmful measures as the only option for survival.”
DreamWorks Animation, Google, Facebook, Twitter, MasterCard, and United Airlines are also joining the efforts to support the WFP.
By Sam Oches