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Right note:  Primary students have embraced Big Waster’s rap song and are keen to repeat it, spreading his food-wise message.

Close encounter:  Big Waster receives a friendly reception on a lunch-time visit to a primary school.

Rapt rapper:  Director Karin Wong said the creative team didn't want to portray Big Waster as an evil monster, but as a guy with a bad habit.

Shaping up:  Big Waster evolved after several iterations of his character were ruled out for being too chunky, skinny or scary.

Role model:  KT Poon, a member of the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign Steering Committee member KT Poon says Big Waster may repent someday, setting a good example for the community.

Big Waster sends eye-opening message

November 10, 2013

With eyes that are literally bigger than his stomach, rap star Big Waster is an instant reminder to stop piling more food than we can eat into our shopping carts and onto our plates. The character debuted in a Food Wise Hong Kong campaign in May and has garnered a huge following of school kids, who eagerly repeat his plea, “Stop the waste!”


In a 30-second TV announcement, Big Waster goes on a whirlwind spree, buying and ordering excessive amounts of food in restaurants and supermarkets, then tossing heaps of leftovers and items past their use-by dates into the rubbish bin.

By deliberately setting up Big Waster as a bad example, the creative team behind the campaign believes he can grab the public’s attention and hit home the message to value food and stop wasting it.


Outstanding figure

The expression “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” is used in both English and Chinese to caution people who appear to be taking more food than they could possibly eat. The creative team built on that to develop Big Waster’s look and personality.


He evolved after several iterations of his character were ruled out for being too chunky, skinny or scary. The creative team is satisfied that Big Waster is the best messenger to fight food waste. Karin Wong, who directed the television commercial in which he stars, says he portrays a typical Hong Konger’s lifestyle, buying more food than he can eat.


"We didn't want Big Waster to be an evil monster, though. He is just a guy with a bad habit," she said.


Punchy lyrics

The team composed a 30-second rap song with lyrics that are punchy with a touch of irony. "Buy, buy, buy, all the food expires. Then, bye, bye, bye. It's all thrown away!" Big Waster recites rapidly and rhythmically.

Ms Wong said her team began with this idea in mind.


"Instead of delivering the message in a traditional way, we wanted to make it more fun, direct and interesting," she said.


Primary students in particular have embraced Big Waster and his message. Soon after the promotional video was broadcast, many of them learned the song and enjoy rapping it - helping to pass on the food wise message to their friends, families and domestic helpers.


Big Waster vs Litter Bug

Older people may remember the popular Lap Sap Chung, or “Litter Bug”, who played a role similar to Big Waster’s in the 1970s. His image was used to urge people to help keep the city clean and not to drop litter in the streets. But the bespotted monster was loathed and abused for his dirty habits. 


"I think people had a more negative impression of 'Litter Bug'. In Big Waster's case, we may make him repent someday and set a good example for people," said KT Poon, a member of the Food Wise Hong Kong Campaign Steering Committee.


He added that the two characters shared the same aim, to help people change their habits to improve our environment.


"In the 1970s, we needed to educate the people to keep Hong Kong clean. Now we need to remind people to value food and avoid wasting this resource," Mr Poon said.


As Christmas and New Year approach, two holidays associated with huge spreads of food, don’t be surprised to run into Big Waster on the street, rapping his message: "Order only portions you can finish, buy only what you need. Please be conscious, stop the waste. Everything is precious. Let's be Food Wise!”


Everyone feel free to sing along.