Feeding America campaign harnesses AI technology with government data to put a face to hunger and challenge public perceptions of food insecurity

Feeding America, one of the largest domestic hunger-relief and food rescue organisations in the US, has launched a Public Service Advertisement (PSA), “I am Hunger in America,” in partnership with the Ad Council and Leo Burnett.

The campaign aims to challenge public perception of who faces hunger domestically by combining artificial intelligence (AI), data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and real, current stories of food insecurity to create a face of hunger.

Feeding America curated over a thousand photos of people struggling with hunger from its member food bank archives using demographic data from the USDA’s food security report released in 2018.

Leveraging AI, it then used these photos to generate a single face illustrative of the USDA data resulting in a data-driven representation of what hunger looks like in America. The project was launched in December 2018, and the entire process took about ten months to complete.

Feeding America Printimage_1568753842032-HR“For many people, hunger in America is invisible. They don’t know what it looks like or feels like. We wanted to find a unique way to tell people’s stories and give them a voice, so that more people understand what happens every day in America,” said Catherine Davis, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Feeding America.

“This PSA campaign challenges people to see hunger in a different way by creating a lifelike portrait that represents the millions of real people who experience hunger.”

Thirty-seven million people – including more than 11 million children – live in food-insecure households, per the latest USDA’s report released earlier this month. According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap 2019 study, which provides local-level estimates of food insecurity across the United States, there is not one county that is hunger-free.

Feeding America OOHBus_1568753818455-HR“Many people care about the issue of hunger, but far fewer take action,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “We want to turn passive concern into action and galvanise empathy for people who do not have enough to eat by revealing to the public just how close we are to hunger every single day.”

“We have found a way to harness AI to tell a powerful human story,” said Jeanie Caggiano, EVP/Executive Creative Director and Studio Lead at Leo Burnett. “And that is why we believe this campaign reflects the human experience even more, because we are not telling one person’s story – we are telling thousands.”

Feeding America’s “I am Hunger in America” PSA was supported in part by C&S Wholesale Grocers and Conagra Brands Foundation. To watch the PSA video and learn more about hunger in America, visit the website.

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