"In our six hours out collecting food, we had a definite deliverable and we went out and we used marketing technology to support us doing that. If the purpose of Do It Day is to use marketing to make a difference in one day then I think we achieved it."
At Plan it Day in November, location technology company xAd conceived an idea to use its resources to supply food banks in need, working with outlets and retailers to distribute their surplus supplies. And at yesterday's Do It Day, the event that brought marketers and creatives together to apply their skills to make a difference in the world, the xAd team did just that.
"We started off pretty scared," admitted Daniel Warner, supply and data partnerships director, EMEA, about the scale of challenge that had been set, referencing the team of four being smaller than that on hand at Plan It Day and the ambition being so high.
"We had pulled the data that told us what the route was going to be and we had spoken to some of the head offices that told us the stores were discretionary as to whether they would hand out food. We knew the area we were going to and which charity would receive what we had. There was such trepidation around not receiving any food which was a real reality for us.
"Whilst everyone else has done an amazing job putting a campaign together, they have been in control of their success and we have relied on our ability to convince someone to do something good."
Their efforts saw the team of four go from one food outlet to the next, in the end gaining donations from food retailers such as Eat, Pret, Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Tesco and Avocado. Over 200 people were fed on the day as a result of their work.
Asked how the project could be taken forward, Warner explained: "Wherever there is a big city, there are homeless people. So we think that the scale of this product is something we can take to any city where there are restaurants. The data that we took today was driven by our own data team scraping the back-end that we don't normally use.
"The plan by XAd is to open that element of the platform and share it with the donors like City Harvest that can drive their own efficiencies in collecting food. So xAd's goal is to have a sustainable legacy and this is about teaching City Harvest how to do this themselves."