ITV and Veg Power have joined forces with the UK’s major supermarkets and Birds Eye to launch a marketing campaign that aims to get children eating more healthily in a bid to tackle rising childhood obesity.

Taking a significantly different approach in strategy, the Eat Them To Defeat Them campaign, created by adam&eveDDB, has deliberately left out any talk of the health benefits of greens or the importance of getting your five-a-day. It instead plays to the fact that children tend to think vegetables are “gross”.

This has resulted in a 60-second film that pits vegetables as an enemy that adults have been trying to keep at bay for years. In creative that looks like a film trailer, a horde of vegetables emerges “from underground to take over the world”. With adults no longer able to fend them off, a barrage of heroic children are called in to chomp through a selection of veg in order to defeat them.

“This is a fantastic advertising challenge of shifting perceptions of veg from the most hated food on the plate to the most desired food on the plate,” Clare Phillips, ITV’s director of social purpose, tells Marketing Week.

“We were very clear from the beginning that what we wanted to do was not shift attitudes but shift sales and consumption.”

The campaign, which launches this evening (25 January) during Coronation Street, is funded by the biggest ever coalition of supermarkets. Aldi, Asda, the Co-op, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, along with food brand Birds Eye, each contributed £50,000 to the production costs. Supermarkets are also supporting the campaign in-store and online.

“It’s exciting to have the supermarkets activate the work in-store, which they will be doing in their own way. Vegetables don’t tend to get much…