Wunderman Thompson (VML): Vow’s Mammoth Meatball

A large meatball made of mammoth meat on a stone platter in a dark studio set with mist swirling around it

Wunderman Thompson (VML): Vow’s Mammoth Meatball

Blending creativity and science to transform the food industry

With one million species facing extinction – due to food production – and the meat production industry accounting for 14.5% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, a radical shift is necessary to protect the future of our planet. Cultured meat offers a sustainable and cruelty-free alternative that can be tailored to taste and nutrition preferences. However, global legalisation and cultural acceptance of cultured meat face barriers from meat lobbies and the public.

To shift perceptions and generate urgency for the introduction of legislative frameworks, Wunderman Thompson worked with Vow, a cultured meat start-up, to harness the power of creativity and science. Partnering with scientists and industry experts, they recreated the genome sequence of the woolly mammoth – a species that represents the impact of extinction and climate change the world over. Through innovative technology, this DNA sequence was grown into a cultured meatball and unveiled to the public at the Rijksmuseum Boerhaven in the Netherlands, capturing attention and sparking conversations about alternative protein sources.

The campaign achieved remarkable results, igniting a global dialogue and transforming perceptions of cultured meat. It garnered 13bn impressions through strategic PR efforts, securing coverage in major press titles and generating $120m in earned advertising value. Vow, a start-up, gained recognition on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, major broadcast networks and talk shows around the world.

The campaign also resonated with the public. By successfully dispelling negative associations, the campaign increased the willingness to try cultured meat by a remarkable 95.7%. It stimulated discussions on social media platforms and generated memes, tweets, vlogs and TikToks, spreading awareness to a global audience.

The campaign tackled the challenges faced by companies manufacturing and marketing cultured meat, and highlighted its potential as a solution to pressing environmental and ethical concerns. By leveraging creativity, science and strategic storytelling, Wunderman Thompson successfully shifted perceptions and influenced public opinion to transform the food industry.