Hunter Water required a water conservation campaign for summer. Amongst a La Niña, it wasn’t a small task. Dams were full. There was no current drought or water restrictions.
How do you make the people of the lower Hunter save water when it was raining?
The sentiment was very much “it’s not me, it’s someone else’s problem”
Before we could pitch a creative idea, we had to understand the complexity around the Hunter’s approach to conservation.
Understanding the issue:
- Involved meetings with high level members of the Hunter Water team to understand the complexity of the issue.
- Research into customer segments, preconceptions about conservation, how our campaign fitting within the existing comms strategy.
- We did our own market research – reaching out to friends and family and trying to Hunter’s people sentiment towards water.
We pitched several creative ideas back to the Hunter Water team before landing on a concept.
We found water conservation is behavioural and these behaviours are driven by our values and our emotional connections. Not all of us have had a life where frugality and conservation have been essential to wellbeing however, we identify with and respect those who have.
People living without a reliable water supply develop behaviours that become intergenerational, almost genetic. Respect and value for water doesn’t change with weather patterns or connecting to town water – it’s with you for life.
For the Hunter region, the people that embody these values and respect for water are our country neighbours that live a simpler, more pragmatic life. They consider water not an endless dam supply, but rather a finite source where – if you’re not thoughtful about your actions – it can directly affect your family and wellbeing.
Our treatment developed to encompass an evocative dialogue from the perspective of an adult mother, discussing the value of water to life and the simplicity of conserving it when it is part of your way of life.
Displaying nostalgic rural scenes and the root of our values, contrasted with shocking depictions of poor water use in urban/suburban environments. By contrasting these scenes, we hoped to show the privilege in urban areas, elicit guilt, create a lightbulb moment, and finally a connection to ‘love water’.
The long term outcome of this campaign is for people of the Hunter to reconsider water conservation as a value, not a concept or aspirational goal.
Water… it’s such an important part of life, why do we respect it differently?