Recent studies show that 90% of Millennials and Gen Z prefer to purchase products and services with social and environmental benefits. Retailers have an opportunity and responsibility to represent their customers as arbiters of sustainability standards and curators of sustainable products.
Kroger believes that responsible sourcing matters. That’s why they continue to increase the availability of Simple Truth Fair Trade Certified products and travel to their origin to see the impact that certification holds first hand.
Proactively, Kroger decided to provide an unfettered look into their global supply chain for Simple Truth Organic Tea. Transcending environmental sustainability, the story also highlights Kroger’s commitment to economic sustainability in the communities that it touches. 360 video presented the perfect medium for full transparency. The story introduces their customers to the women of the SORWATHE Tea Estate in Rwanda, who, since the civil war, have stepped into what were traditionally male roles to rebuild their country.
On Location in Kinihira, Rwanda
After several long flights and a three hour car ride, the KVR crew accompanied by Kroger and Fair Trade were welcomed with stunning views of seas of green at the SORWATHE tea estate. To keep the principal photography days efficient, Director, Uli Futschik, DP, Ignacio Margeli, and Sound recordist, Laura Laidlaw (Cunningham) stayed at the associated guesthouse on the hilltop just above the morning fog.
The crew spent the first day scouting the tea fields and villages as well as ‘casting’ the main character. We found our protagonist in Denise Nyirandagijimana, a tea plucker, wife, mother of two and sole provider for her family. For the next few days, we followed Denise from her work harvesting and weighing tea leaves in the Rukeri fields to her home in a remote mountainside village only accessible by an hour and a half walk, not unusual in Africa. She graciously welcomed us into her daily life, introducing us to her friendly community and lovely family.
Far removed from the hustle and bustle of Kigali, the remote village was unaccustomed to foreigners. Intrigued by our seemingly alien equipment, we were quickly surrounded by crowds of curious children and villagers. This posed a unique challenge for 360, when there is no “behind the camera.”
Finishing and Reception
Back in NYC, we went into overdrive with an accelerated post-production schedule for an International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2019, debut. Our audience was able to experience Denise’s Story inside a a full experiential buildout representative of the SORWATHE tea estate. The video was warmly received and the event was a great success at Kroger’s headquarters.
Assistant Brand Manager
360 Post Production
Julie Patterson Holland