5 Sticky Marketing Ideas: If I Were Marketing @ Water Conservation Cause…

5 sticky marketing ideas- if i were marketing at water conservation cause-www.ifiweremarketing.com

Cape Town could be the first major city to have no water!!! Reading this was a big jolt of unpleasant reality. Water conservation has been taught, spoken about, urged by schools, NGOs, World bodies. Yet, it is not heeded or practised. I speak for all urbanites when I say that we know villages across the world face mild to severe drought but we think that cities are untouchable.

So when we wake up to headlines like the Cape Town scenario, it is scary. We realise that we could be next, unless we change.

Day Zero: What happens when Cape Town runs out of water?

Despite extreme measures to ration water, the city may go dry. And authorities are bracing for that day when all systems could collapse- Conde Nast Traveller

Making people change their lifelong habits is as difficult as changing mindset. But Cause Marketing is all about changing people’s ingrained habits. I want to do my bit for the Water Conservation cause by formulating a marketing strategy that may help change the habits of at least 10 people (admittedly, the proverbial drop in the ocean).

What better day to publish this post than today on World Water Day, 2018? Lets dive in…

If I were marketing @ Water Conservation Cause or Save Water Cause (cause marketing)….

My Marketing Objective: Get people to take action to save water, not just create awareness of water shortage

My TG: All adults, in metros (since metros are the biggest consumers of water)

Marketing strategy: 

Communication emotion:

So far, most water conservation communication has used Fear as the predominant emotion. Hence, we have doomsday scenarios either painted in words or images or through experiential activities. But they have failed to spark consistent action. Most people see the doomsday communication, become thoughtful, save water for a few days and then slip back into old stubborn habits.

Instead, if we tried humor, sarcastic humor, it may be a change that gets noticed and shared. Atleast people will not tune it out as something they have heard a million times before.

What to communicate?

We have two routes open to us:

  1. Show people the impact of zero water on every moment of our life and assume that they will be motivated to take action on their own and that they will have the knowledge to save significant amount of water. In other words, show them the ‘Why’ of water conservation and pray to god they understand the ‘How’ OR
  2. Show them both the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’ of water conservation.

Why is the TG not youngsters?

The TG could have been youngsters since they are still not set in their ways. Their habits are forming, they are more open to learning new ways and new concepts. But the limitation in that is the lack of significant savings. Even if youngsters understand the need to save water, they have limited ability to execute it on a wide scale.

If grown ups understand the need and the water saving suggestions, they can do something at a group level, not just individual level. Example: they may be able to get a rain water harvesting system for their housing society or they may get some water friendly appliances for the house etc. Thus they can make use of their new found knowledge in a more impactful way.

Where should all the communication lead people?

Every communication effort should direct people to a website and app where they can learn multitude ways in which they can save water. They just download the app on their phone and turn on the camera. Augmented Reality can point out areas in the house where they can save water. Eg. when they move around the house, while passing a bathroom, the app will point to the shower saying ‘save atleast 100 litres per year’ or while passing a washing machine, it can say ‘save atleast 500 litres per month’, etc. 

People can sign up to track their water consumption. Compete with others to see their score. They can sign up solo or as a group (housing society/ college gang/ football team, etc).

Sticky Marketing Ideas based on the above strategy:

1. Expiry Date Placard on City Roads:

expiry date placard on city roads-water conservation-www.ifiweremarketing.com

Put attractive placards on roadside plants and flowers. The placards would say “Manufacturing Date: 100 yrs ago. Expiry Date: 2030. No water, no plants”. It would be hard to miss and will get noticed since no one puts an Expiry Date on plants

2. Go Neat:

go neat-water conservation-www.ifiweremarketing.com

Inside pubs, lounges and restaurants with liquor licenses, put flashing, loud neon sign saying Go Neat. Neat will be necessary. No water left for your drinks by 2030′ Or ‘Neat peene ki aadat daalo 🙂 No water left by 2030′. Whoever orders their drink neat, give them a small thank you card. “Thank you for saving water. If you want to save more water, try xyz.com (the website mentioned above)”. Most people don’t realise that water scarcity will impact not just their day to day life but also their favorite foods and drinks. This will drive home that point. People can imagine living without  daily showers but a life without food and drinks is not palatable (pun intended). 

3. Buy 1 Wear 1 offer:

buy 1 wear 1-water conservation-www.ifiweremarketing.com

Unbeknown to most, clothing industry is one of the largest guzzlers and pollutant of water. Manufacturing a single cotton t-shirt takes about 3 years worth of drinking water i.e.2700 ltrs. Make people aware of this. The basic human need trifecta of food, clothing and shelter- all will get impacted with water scarcity.

Sale Sale Sale- ‘Buy 1 garment and Wear only that 1 garment. Offer starts 2030, when there will be no water to manufacture garments’. Put this offer on all leading ecommerce sites of India. Promote this through TVC, just like the campaigns for Myntra’s End of Reason Sale or Amazon’s Great Indian Shopping Festival. Anytime people click on this offer, show them what are all the various ways they can save water right now through xyz.com so that they can still buy clothes in 2030. 

4. Non Swimming Classes:

non swimming classes-water conservation-www.ifiweremarketing.com

Outside swimming pools in hotels, clubs, community pools, Put a huge board saying ‘Dont bother learning how to swim. There will be no water by 2030 anyways. No poolside relaxation, only concrete side chilling’. Try meeting people at hitherto untapped placesEveryone reading the board can be given a wet wipe with instructions on how to save water.

5. Latest Hi-tech mobile phone ad:

latest hi tech mobile phone ad-water conservation-www.ifiweremarketing.com

Release the ad of a basic looking feature phone with a headline: ‘2030’s most advanced phone ever, Not at all waterproof. No water, no need for waterproof’. Release this ad in leading publications and on ecommerce mobile sections, tech review sites and blogs. It will grab attention because currently, papers are dominated by huge ads of smartphones.

This will be another tongue in cheek way to say that there will be no water soon, unless we do something about it. To every person clicking on the link, take them to the website mentioned earlier.


These are just some of the ideas to spread the word about Why and How to save water. There could be many more ways to try, if we only attempt.

Which of these did you like the most? What is your feedback on them? Let me know in the comments below…

Happy World Water Day, people!!!

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