When R&R Partners was brought in to help revive a stale and scattered campaign – Utah’s “Slow the Flow, Save H2O” statewide public education message to encourage homeowners to reduce water use – our agency was asked that our strategies be research-driven and strategically focused.
We took on the project with the glass half full. We began an exhaustive review of existing research and then conducted our own, which provided key insights that inspired a radical shift in the campaign.
R&R based all of its messaging strategies and tactics on one of the most respected, evidence-based theories of social cause marketing that aims to change social norms and convert intentions to act into positive social behaviors. First, R&R created an innovative partnership with Utah’s MLS team, REAL Salt Lake, to leverage its loyal fan base of men (61%) and homeowners (82%). It was the perfect fit, with its playing season even overlapping the spring/summer advertising campaign. We created co-branded TV, radio and online ads that featured REAL players and their “Grass Whisperer” – the guy responsible for the natural lush turf. And in a nontraditional messaging twist, we also lined all of the water fountains in the stadium with artificial turf to remind fans “your pitch only needs a sip. Don’t overwater.”
We also searched for ways to have direct contact with Utahns when they were already thinking about their outdoor watering. We expanded our community partnerships to include The Home Depot. What better way to communicate to the millennial male about conserving water outdoors than at the point of decision, while he’s searching for a replacement sprinkler head? All 22 Home Depot stores across the state enthusiastically joined in the effort.
The outcome: The campaign has attained enviable awareness levels, especially for social cause initiatives, with 64 percent audience recall. And not only are people remembering the message, they’re also taking action to implement conservation behaviors.
We’re changing the game by changing the social norm, from a culture of consumption to one of conservation.