Meals on Wheels engages neuroscientists and a master pastry chef to create a birthday cake that’s good for your brain via Common Ventures
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the much-loved community care provider Meals on Wheels NSW, advertising agency Common Ventures has developed an innovative campaign designed to shine a light on the widespread issue of cognitive decline with an ‘Unforgettable’ brain-friendly cake.
A birthday cake like no other, the design and ingredients of the ‘Unforgettable Cake’ were informed by experts in the fields of neuroscience and geriatric nutrition with the goal of being beneficial and accessible to older Aussies experiencing cognitive decline. Using unconventional cake ingredients like spinach, beetroot and turmeric, the cake also utilises colour theory to stimulate appetite and clear-lidded packaging for those who need more obvious hunger cues and visual reminders to eat.
Meals on Wheels is a lifeline for older Australians living with health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, mobility issues, hearing and visual impairments and dementia – one of the second leading causes of death among Australians.
The primary purpose of this project was to create a conversation and raise awareness around the many health and neurologic barriers our older community face on a daily basis, as well as the outstanding job Meals on Wheels has done for the past 70 years supporting and caring for this community.
According to Les MacDonald, chief executive officer of Meals on Wheels NSW, the ‘Unforgettable Cake’ provides an opportunity to bring attention to an issue that is endemic within the community: “As we mark our 70th anniversary, we thought it would be timely to have a meaningful conversation about the serious issue of cognitive decline, which includes dementia and Alzheimer’s, and impacts many Meals on Wheels clients and families within our community.
“A healthy diet and social engagement are vital for cognitive health and known to improve brain function. For many of our clients, a visit from a volunteer is the highlight of their week, so if we can elicit more happy memories and moments for them, it adds another layer to the important role we play in the community.”
The campaign has engaged some of Australia’s leading nutrition and brain health experts from NeurA and UNSW, plus the creative talents of master pastry chef, Christopher Thé (creator of the infamous Strawberry Watermelon cake), to develop a nutritionally dense cake, carefully composed with a variety of superfoods to deliver a balanced combination of flavour, texture and nutrition.
Says Jane Burhop, creative director and co-founder, Common Ventures: “We wanted to honour Meals on Wheels NSW’s 70-year legacy with a cake that was just as special as its service. As one of our longest-standing clients, we’ve seen firsthand just how impactful Meals on Wheels can be. For many seniors, a visit from a Meals on Wheels volunteer is their only form of social interaction for the week. What better way to reflect the organisation’s achievements than with a cake that did just that – a cake that helps support brain health while providing an occasion to sit down for a chat and cuppa.”
Common Ventures worked with Sydney-based communications agency Biased to help execute the earned media component of the campaign, reaching out to broadcast, print, online and engaging influencers. Bringing the milestone moment further to life, Biased sourced a classic EK Holden Ute to deliver the cakes, adding to the nostalgia and transporting Meals on Wheels clients back to their heyday.
The ‘Unforgettable Cake’ will be delivered to select Meals on Wheels clients from Wednesday 22 November, while slices will also be available for purchase from Hearthe with a portion from every sale to be donated to Meals on Wheels NSW.
To find out more about Meals on Wheels NSW, please visit nswmealsonwheels.org.au
Client: Meals on Wheels NSW
General Manager, Marketing and Fundraising: Claudia Odello
Marketing/Volunteer Coordinator: Sue Dryden
Meals on Wheels NSW Board Member & Accredited Practising Dietitian: Sharon Lawrence
Hearthe – Christopher Thé, Master Pastry Chef & Owner
NeuRA; Professor Kaarin Anstey, Senior Principal Research Scientist at NeuRA, ARC Laureate Fellow / Scientia Professor at UNSW
University of New South Wales (UNSW): Professor Dr. Johannes le Coutre, Professor Food & Health
Creative Agency: Common Ventures
Founder & Executive Creative Director: Brian Merrifield
Founder & Creative Director: Jane Burhop
Account Manager: Tasma Hunt
Lead Creative Team: Masha Rimsh & Tom Barker
Lead Designer: Josie Young
Public Relations Agency: Biased
Founder & Managing Director: Biarta Parnham
Head of Content & Communications: Andrew Harrington
Marketing & PR Coordinator: Piper Daly
Photographer: Alicia Taylor