In a counterpoint to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory where everything was edible, V&A’s Museum of Childhood has launched a tasty – yet healthier – equivalent in the form of printed edible posters.

The aim? To encourage children who, let’s face it are notoriously fussy eaters, to tuck into fruit and vegetables. Persuading children to eat their greens can indeed be tricky. In its infinite wisdom, The V&A Museum of Childhood turned the tables – literally – with a free workshop where children were asked to invent a dish. Food experimentalists Bompass & Parr were then tasked with bringing their ideas to life for an edible exhibition at the museum.

AMV BBDO and illustrator Rob Flowers then cooked up a range of edible posters and tickets for the exhibition which were printed using fruit and vegetable-flavoured inks.

“We found this company in America that makes flavoured inks and injects them into a really thin piece of flexible paper,” explained AMV BBDO Creative Director Neil Clarke. “It’s not rice paper – I think it’s made out of a combination of vegetable oils or something like that.”

“We had a huge variety of flavours on the day,” he recalled.

Ad agencies have pretty varied jobs, but the edible firsts were most certainly a first for AMV BBDO. Mr Clarke said, despite initial trepidation, the printed materials came out looking and tasting better than even he could have expected.

“It took about a month from sending the artwork to America to getting the first batch back and we were pretty nervous,” he added. “We weren’t sure if they were going to taste nice or even be legible…. What surprised us was that the final print quality was as good if not better than a normal laser jet printer.”

“The previous campaigns for the Museum of Childhood have always been quite colourful and thought-provoking – like you’re jumping into a kid’s head.”

“What’s lovely about Rob’s work is that it’s so colourful and vibrant. He puts so much detail into everything.”


Capturing children’s imagination

The “great thing” about the Museum of Childhood, said Mr Clarke, is that their “core idea is capturing children’s imagination.”

“For us it’s great because it’s about engaging with children and parents and working with really interesting designers and illustrators to bring that level of craft and detail [to each project]. It’s a dream brief…. Everyone who worked on it from the account handlers to the creative team just fell back in love with being a kid again. You’re sitting eating a poster that tastes of mango and critiquing whether a cucumber looks playful enough or what an edible bubble should taste like.”

The posters are the latest in a series of imaginative campaigns for the Museum of Childhood. In 2015 AMV BBDO worked with artists to create vinyl stickers for drains and street lamps, turning them into works of art. Last year, it teamed up with Psyop and Becky and Joe to create models based on children’s imaginary friends.

One thing’s for sure, when it comes to encouraging children to eat healthy, sometimes you just need a little pure imagination …