Want to drive change? (Hint: Your content is the key.)
Jun 13, 2019
Did you know that forgoing one cup of coffee every day for a year can save a swimming pool’s worth of water? We didn’t either. There’s a lot we can all do to combat water scarcity. Our latest project with The Weather Channel focused on what can be done, why it’s necessary, and how to make it happen.
But how do you help an established brand temporarily revamp its image in a way that feels authentic and purposeful while also spurring people to take action?
We started by experimenting with what we could say in 60-, 30-, 15- and 6-second videos. That was especially challenging because global clean water scarcity is a complex issue. To some, it’s about hardcore climate data and the human impact of that data on groups of people who stand worlds apart. To others, it’s about how small actions in North America can impact clean water in Africa.
Finding that “connective tissue” was critical. Sometimes, that tissue is in the story itself. Other times, it’s in the visual treatment that brings the story to life.
In this case, we decided to tell the story using a split-screen look with bold type. We were able to juxtapose the different sides of the story and, at other moments, unite seemingly disparate pieces. We could cover more points of view, so we could paint a more complete picture of the issue and solution in a limited amount of time.
The spots aired on The Weather Channel as well as Hulu, YouTube, and Spotify. But they were just the start. We wanted to help the cause, so we created and donated a short documentary about the effect of water scarcity on Kenyan farmers and their communities. We also made a series of “challenge” GIFs to teach people that small changes in everyday habits can conserve water.
There was a lot we ourselves didn’t know. Many of us reexamined our own habits and made changes—from turning off the faucet while brushing teeth to running solar power in the home.
The Weather Channel has also been contributing to the cause. The company changed its name to The Water Channel on weather.com and its mobile app from June 7-9. And for the rest of the year, every visit to the website or app will result in The Weather (Water) Company making a donation to unlock clean water for people in need.
You can make changes to curb your water usage, too. Visit waterchannel.org to see our work as well as other stories about water usage. Keep an eye out there for more conservation challenges throughout the year, as well.
Josh O'Dell is an associate creative director at Centerline Digital in Raleigh, NC. When he's not finding unique ways to tell brands' stories, he likes getting manicures from his daughters and making novel ice cream flavors (Hello, donut chocolate crunch).