Creative Insights: Natxo Díaz on VMLY&R Health’s ‘Sugar Kids’ Campaign

The Chief Creative Officer at VMLY&R Health Spain talks about the award-winning work for the Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

VMLY&R Health Spain recently received honors for the “Sugar Kids” campaign for the Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs at the annual Luum Awards.

Launched in October 2021, the campaign addresses the issue that 1 in 3 children in Spain is overweight or obese, giving Spain the 2nd highest rate of child obesity in the EU. According to the campaign, this is related to the fact that each year children in Spain consume an average of 33.4kg of sugar.

To learn more about the campaign, we spoke with Natxo Díaz, Chief Creative Officer at VMLY&R Health Spain. He talks about the inspiration behind the campaign, some of the challenges in putting it together, its effectiveness in the market, and more.


Tell us about the inspiration behind the campaign and how it evolved creatively.

The insight and the idea of ‘Sugar Kids’ are both based in data and its creative visualization through an outdoor installation to show Spanish society a big problem: 1 in 3 children in Spain is overweight or obese, giving Spain the 2nd highest rate of child obesity in the EU.

There’s a directly related cause to this fact: each year, every child in Spain consumes an average of 33,4kg of sugars, what it’s exactly body weight of children from the ages of 9 to 12 according to the WHO percentile tables.

The Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs wanted to change this harsh reality by launching a new regulation to reduce its consumption. But there was a strong lobby against it, due to different economic and political interests. So the Minister knew they needed the people by their side, to get support to make this new regulation a reality.


So to make this problem visible so everyone could realize the size of the problem, we created a collection of life-size sculptures of children made of different sugars items with the exact amount they eat a year, that 33.4 kg. The installation opened a strong debate in our society to talk about the problem and try to change it.

What were some of the challenges in putting the campaign together for launch?

The first and probably trickier challenge seemed to be the budget. We had less than 12k € for the campaign but at the same time, I think it was a stimulus too to get to a simple solution to spotlight this massive problem. As I learned in my time at Ogilvy, big ideas are usually simple ideas, and sometimes you don’t need big budgets to get to them.

The second big challenge was the strong lobby we knew we’d have against the new regulations the Minister wanted to introduce to help fight child obesity. It’s hard to see how, for some people, money or political interests are even above our children’s health. So, we tried to find a solution based on real scientific data, so naysayers and lobbyers hadn’t many arguments against the campaign.

What were the results in terms of your client and your agency’s KPIs?

Our client wanted to raise awareness about childhood obesity to open a social debate around this harsh reality, in order to gain social support to their new upcoming regulations. And the results were amazing, with a total budget of less than 12K euros, we manage to get +284 million impacts, +1200 media appearances, the discussion became trending topic at Twitter over several days and it reach a media value of +7,2 million euros.

For us, as an agency specialized in health, we felt we had the duty to support such an important cause, while creating an idea we loved. It’s great to be able to create something that makes a meaningful impact. And if by doing it you get the industry recognition, much better. With Sugar Kids, we have won more than 50 international awards in this year. But the biggest Grand Prix for us it’s helping to instigate change in behaviors and realities.

Natxo Díaz

What was a peer campaign amongst the award entrants that you liked? (share link)

I loved ‘Melting Florida’ by Zubi, big winners at Luum Awards, but If I had to pick just one work, I’d say ‘Morning after island’ by Ogilvy in Honduras, as they created something that really made an impact in women lives to fight injustice and facilitate the access to the morning after pill to avoid pregnancy. Is a simple and clever idea that despite of being just an outdoor installation, the core is the PR behind it to get a strong media reach to make people think about the problem and start a conversation to solve it.

In terms of the creative ad industry, as we emerge from the pandemic, are there any particular trends you’re seeing in the market?

In health, I see the evidence that technology and partnerships between companies from different areas but with a common purpose are adding value beyond medicine and getting where drugs cannot get to making a big difference in patients’ lives. Another trend is the raise of good campaigns in different platforms to normalize mental health issues to try them not to be a taboo anymore. Also, I see the power of ideas to bring equity and inclusion to the access to healthcare globally, democratizing it. And last, the creative use of gaming to really engage audiences with the brand’s messages while entertain them.

Why do you think awards such as the Luum Awards are important for the industry?

Well, I think that, as communicators, we have not just the power but also the commitment to try to help changing things with our ideas and campaigns. Even more when working in healthcare. There’s probably no other sector that human and meaningful. We have the chance of deliver ideas that potentially can have a strong impact in many lives, changing behaviors, realities, or even laws, as we’ve seen with Sugar Kids.

It’s a great satisfaction working in health, but at the same time it implies a great responsibility. Doing it well or not with our campaigns can make a big difference in the lives of people who are suffering due to a disease or a specific condition. Festivals such as the Luum Awards help highlight to the whole world the true scope and impact that good social, environmental or health communication can have, something very necessary to contribute to continue advancing towards a better world.


Client: Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs
Client team: Daniel Ayllón, Álvaro Ferrero, Alejandra González
Advertising agency: VMLY&R HEALTH, Spain
EMEA CCO: Jaime Mandelbaum
EMEA Integrated Content Director: Carlos Baer
Chief Comms Officer: Suzie Warner
CEO: Elvira Arzubialde
Chief creative officer: Natxo Díaz
Creative director / Head of art: Leo Rincón
Creative supervisor: César Pérez
Art directors: Leo Rincón, Paula Terrón, Guillermo Álvarez
3D/Video artists: Leo Rincón, Nico Sierra, Luis Lemes
Copywriters: Natxo Díaz, César Pérez, Catalina Segura
Account team: Ana Richarte, Silvia Revuelto, Elvira Arzubialde
Medical team: Ana Aguirre, María Guerra
Sculptor artist: Juan Villa

This is part of a series of interviews done in collaboration with the Luum Awards. To learn more or enter the awards, go here

The Staff

The Staff

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