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‘Panteater’ ridding the world of bad pants


Ben Ramsden
+44 (0)779 323 6115
Ravi Matharu
+44 (0)7949 128 420



Farmers with Pants
Farmers with Pants
Pants to Poverty
Pants to Poverty

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Core Facts

  • Leo Burnett has created a new campaign for Pants to Poverty to engage consumers in a totally new approach to fighting poverty
  • A viral campaign warning the public of the dangers of unethical, bad pants, as explained through the tales of a mythical creature:  the panteater
  • Campaign involves cotton farmers, factory workers retailers across 16 countries where bad pants were fed to the panteater.

Leo Burnett has created a new campaign for Pants to Poverty – the award winning Fairtrade underwear brand working with 5,000 farmers in India - to speak to mainstream audiences about the terrible impact of the pesticides that are used to produce the clothes that we wear!

A viral campaign warning the public of the dangers of unethical, bad pants, is spreading tales of a mythical creature, ‘The Panteater’. Derived from the better known anteater, the ‘Panteater’ is a mutated creature who has fed for too long on the evil pesticide-ridden pants now prolific in the Western world.

At the heart of the campaign is a documentary exposing the plight of Jessie Welk, the victim of a panteater attack because he was wearing ‘bad’ pants, and now a committed recluse. The film focuses on the darkly humorous lengths that he goes to in order to protect himself. The documentary has already been shortlisted at the Rushes Soho Short Film Festival Awards (www.sohoshorts.com) – a rarity for a commercial film.

Although the campaign is light hearted in its approach, it carries a far more serious message. The continuing use of highly toxic pesticides which, according to the world health organization are responsible for the deaths of approximately 20,000 people every year. Millions more suffer from acute poisoning and overwhelming debts which push thousands of farmers to commit suicide in the area - Vidarbha province in India – where Pants to Poverty sources their cotton. 

The 3 minute film is also accompanied by 8 shorter teasers as well as one done by the farmers themselves! They feature as the key element of a viral campaign housed at www.pantstopoverty.com/panteater.  To further supplement the campaign and engage the consumer,  another two websites (www.myfriendmartha.co.uk and www.diesuckers.com), plus social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have been employed to engage them in the brand and its core values.

Leo Burnett also devised the concept of  the “Bad pants amnesty” and on Tuesday 7th July the campaign was launched at a global Pants Amnesty uniting people across 16 countries and tens of thousands of people to make a stand against the unethical cotton trade.  Participants are invited to reject their bad pants and replace them with a lovely pair of fairtrade, pesticide free, ethically made undies.

Indian academics, activists and celebrities as well as their UK counterparts, including ‘Pants Man’ from The Apprentice kicked the campaign off around the world.   This global event adopts a totally new approach to campaigning as it is the first complete value chain mobilisation of its kind. In India – linking farmers, factory workers, retailers, consumers and celebrities. 

User generated content has already started with spoofs being made on youtube, new characters put out there and panteater sightings in parks around London! The creature will also appear at various festivals over the summer, including Bestival and Secret Garden, showcasing ‘The Panteater’ in captivity, urging festival goers to enter into its cage and feed their ‘bad pants’, receiving Pants to Poverty ‘good pants’ in return.


Ben Ramsden, founder of Pants to Poverty said: “Leo Burnett has translated a highly charged and complex issue into a brilliantly engaging campaign that takes the “inaccessible” out of social change.  After eighteen months of working with us they have helped us develop beautiful branding and expand our message into 16 countries.   By working with Leo Burnett we have established a totally new and very sustainable approach to fighting poverty.”

Ben continued: “Four years to the day after we mobilised to support Make Poverty History, we are rising up with our global community of pant lovers to employ a new tactic to build a new solution to the environmental and economic catastrophies that surround us. The time is now, the power is in our pants!”

Ollie Kristian and Christen Brestrup, the creative team at Leo Burnett, commented: “Instead of getting hung up with the nitty gritty business of  trying to explain why ethics are important, we thought we'd entertain people with a film about a fictional animal called panteater that attacks you if you're not wearing ethical pants. Our belief was that if the content was fun enough people may begin to see this little known brand as an acceptable alternative to their ‘bad pants’ and not just some eco-obsessed hippy product – which of course it isn’t.”

Boilerplate Statements

Please note: all the companies and individuals listed below donated their time and services for free.

Creative agency - Leo Burnett
Copywriter - Ollie Kristian
Art director - Christen Brestrup
Planner (creative agency) - Richard Cordiner
Production company - One Small Step
Director - Lorrin Braddick
Editor - Lorrin Braddick
Post-production - Absolute
Audio post-production - Factory


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