Celebrities become Evil Veg in Brand New TV Advert to Launch Third Year of ‘Eat Them To Defeat Them’ Campaign for ITV and Veg Power

  • Dame Emma Thompson, Amanda Holden, Jamie Oliver, Stephen Mulhern, Giovanna Fletcher and Ranvir Singh voice evil veg characters in the latest advert to get children to eat their veg 
  • ‘Prepare for Battle’ is the theme of the latest ad in the award-winning campaign from Veg Power and ITV, supported by STV, Channel 4 and Sky and sponsored by an alliance of supermarkets and food brands  
  • Campaign is proven to get children eating their greens, driving additional sales of over 500 million portions of vegetables since launch 
  • A New Report, Veg Facts 2021,  shows that almost a third (29%) of children aged 5-10 years old eat less than one portion of veg a day 
  • 89% of children aged 5-10 years eat less than the Government’s Eat Well Guide recommendations for veg 

Saturday 29th May 2021: An army of warrior kids vows to vanquish a legion of evil vegetables in the brand new TV advert for ITV and Veg Power’s highly effective Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign, created by adam&eveDDB, supported by a multi-million media alliance between ITV, STV, Channel 4 and Sky, and funded by 10 food and retail brands.  

The cackles, grunts and groans of the evil attacking vegetables have been hilariously voiced by top celebrities including Dame Emma Thompson, Amanda Holden, Jamie Oliver, Stephen Mulhern, Giovanna Fletcher and Ranvir Singh in a bid to build on previous successes in getting children to eat more vegetables. One in three children leaves primary school overweight or obese, and eating vegetables is core to a healthy diet.  

This comes with a new report from The Food Foundation showing almost a third (29%) of children aged 5 to 10 years old eat less than one portion of vegetables a day. 

Called ‘Prepare for Battle’, the campaign carries on the successful strategy of positioning the evil vegetables as an enemy where the  children become the heroes and have to EAT THEM TO DEFEAT THEM. This counter-intuitive approach has already proven to be very effective with kids, parents and schools all confirming it actually gets kids to eat more vegetables. 81% of school staff stated that the campaign was more popular than other healthy eating initiatives. 76% of kids in schools said the campaign made eating veg more fun. 

Since the campaign debuted in January 2019, it has led to sales of over 517 million additional children’s portions of vegetables worth £63m.  

The new hero 60-second spot starts with the news that evil veg are back. We then see kids from across Britain pledging to make their foes ‘wish they were never grown’. In a montage, the kids undertake intense training using everyday kitchen utensils, eventually squaring up against the veg on the battlefield. The first shot is fired, in the form of a fork piercing a terrifying tomato, before all hell breaks loose. As the army charges forth, one of the warriors turns to camera, demanding of her fellow children: “Will you just sit there? Or are you with us?” 

‘Prepare for Battle’ launches on Saturday 29 May including in ITV’s new show, The Masked Dancer. The Masked Dancer includes a Beetroot character, inspired by the campaign. The new Eat Them To Defeat them ads will also run in major shows on Sky, Channel 4 and STV, and feature in editorial including Martin and Roman’s Weekend Best, James Martin’s Saturday Morning, Alan Titchmarsh’s Spring into Summer, and ITV Daytime.  

The campaign is set to reach 5.2 million households with children, thanks to donated media from ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, as part of their £10 million commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles for children.      

The campaign is funded by 10 major food retailers and brands  -  Aldi, Asda, Birds Eye, Co-op, Lidl, Total Produce, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. Media agency Essence have planned the off-air media for the campaign, securing pro-bono contributions from advertising and media partners, including Pearl and Dean, News UK, Mail Metro Media, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Verizon, Spotify, Mail Online, Mumsnet, LadBible, Snapchat, Twitter, Acast, JCDecaux, First News, Clear Channel and Ocean Outdoor in a huge drive to encourage children to feel more enthusiastic about eating vegetables.  

This year the campaign is rolling out into 1,900 primary schools with veg tasting sessions, posters, teaching aids and games, and into the homes as 500,000 children will be given a vegetable reward chart and sticker pack, alongside a puzzle book co-created and funded by Public Health England’s Change4Life campaign. 

A new report, ‘Veg Facts 2021’, being released by The Food Foundation and Peas Please Partnership,  reveals that almost a third of children between 5-10 years old eat less than one portion of veg a day. The EAT THEM TO DEFEAT THEM campaign shows how advertising can be used to inspire kids to eat a healthier diet. The situation does not improve with teenagers with only 6% of teenagers aged 11-16 years old currently eating enough veg to hit the recommendations in the Government’s Eatwell Guide.    

Research conducted by YouGov, commissioned by ITV and Veg Power for the campaign found that 35% of parents worried about their children’s diets during the pandemic.  


Evil Vegetable Cast List 

Carrot - Jamie Oliver 

Broccoli - Giovanna Fletcher 

Pepper 1 - Emma Thompson 

Pepper 2 - Ranvir Singh 

Sweetcorn - Stephen Mulhern 

Tomato - Amanda Holden 


Baroness Rosie Boycott, Chair of Veg Power Board, said  “We are delighted that Eat Them To Defeat Them has returned for its third year and is set to reach even more children across the UK. As our mission is to get the UK eating more veg, engaging with children on this topic is crucial as not only will it improve their health but encourage life-long eating habits.” 

Susie Braun, Head of Social Purpose at ITV, said “This award-winning campaign is proof that it’s possible to change not just kids’ attitudes but their behaviours around eating vegetables. We are delighted to be driving this huge alliance around Eat Them to Defeat Them for a third year, together getting literally millions more portions of vegetables into kids’ tummies.” 

John Hegarty, Veg Power Board, said "Once again television proves to be the best mass medium for persuasion. After the success of the first spot for ‘Eat them to Defeat Them’ we’ve come back with a follow up, imploring children to join the battle against the evil veg, in an irreverent, funny and compelling commercial. Veg beware!"

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, writer and chef, said “It’s time to defeat those dastardly veg – and eat them again!! It’s been great to be part of the Veg Power team and watch this funny, irreverent and counter-intuitive ad come together, following the success of the first Eat Them to Defeat Them campaign. We know kids are enjoying these spots, and relating to them, and even more importantly, we know many of the kids who are seeing these ads are indeed eating more veg. Long may it continue.”   

Mat Goff, Joint Chief Executive Officer at adam&eveDDB, said: “This campaign is important, increasingly urgent, and it works. It’s good to see an ever-growing coalition of partners getting involved and to know that together we are helping to get more veg on more forks and in more mouths.” 

Verica Djurdjevic, Chief Revenue Officer at Channel 4, said “Positively changing kids’ eating habits through a bold TV wide campaign such as Eat Them to Defeat Them demonstrates the real social impact broadcaster collaboration is delivering. We’re delighted to play a role in building upon this amazing momentum and continuing to inspire young people.” 

Tim Pearson, Managing Director, at Sky Media, said “Encouraging kids to eat healthily goes hand in hand with Sky’s long standing commitment to grassroots sport and helping young people get active. We’re proud to offer the power of TV advertising to support this campaign and help kids lead healthier lives. We can’t wait to see the impact of this partnership grow as it returns for a third year.” 

Jason O’Rourke, Head of Washingborough Academy, said "The EAT THEM TO DEFEAT THEM campaign is one that the whole school community look forward to every year. The impressive resources are really engaging and provide staff with excellent ideas to support learning in the classroom. It is wonderful to see how enthused the children are and how excited they get about the great message of eating more vegetables."

The campaign is funded by Aldi, Asda, Birds Eye, Co-op, Lidl, Total Produce, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, with pro-bono contributions from advertising and media partners.  


Editors’ notes 

Available for Interview:

About adam&eveDDB 

We are a creative agency dedicated to making work that works. We believe in the power of creativity to create the change we want to happen in the world, and develop audacious and famous ideas for our clients that help to grow their businesses and shape culture by driving behaviour change at scale. We are an agency that believes firmly in respect, kindness, openness, self-expression, and creativity, making space for the lived and learned experiences of all our people, and helping them to be the best they can be. We work with a range of clients including Hey Girls, Lucozade, CALM, PlayStation, FIFA, John Lewis & Partners, Marmite, Lloyds Bank, Waitrose & Partners, Volkswagen and Mars. 

About Veg Power 

Veg Power, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, was founded by the Food Foundation, Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall, Sir John Hegarty and Baroness Boycott to turn around vegetable consumption in the UK. It runs a number of creative initiatives to engage, inspire and motivate people to eat more veg and create life-long good food habits.  

About ITV's Social Purpose 

ITV is More Than TV. We connect with millions of people every day, make content they can't get enough of, and reflect and shape the world we live in and we do all of this through the power of creativity. 

Reflecting and shaping the world we live in gives us a great opportunity: to change ITV for better, and to use our content to reach and inspire positive change in the wider world. This is ITV's Social Purpose - shaping culture for good. We do this across four focus areas: Better Mental and Physical Health, Diversity & Inclusion, Climate Action and Giving Back.  

About The Food Foundation's Veg Facts report  

Veg Facts 2021 is being published by The Food Foundation as part of the Peas Please partnership which aims to bring together farmers, retailers, restaurant chains, caterers, processors and government departments with a common goal of making it easier for everyone to eat veg. Committed to collaborative working, Peas Pease is led by project partners the Food Foundation, Nourish Scotland, Food Sense Wales, Food NI, and Belfast Food Network.



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