Earlier this month, Stella Artois used the major marketing power of the Super Bowl to urge fans to help provide access to safe drinking water for people in developing nations. Now the beer giant and their longstanding partner, Water.org, are contextualizing the basic need of water and bringing the message to life – beyond the safety of TV screens and couches and into the unsuspecting real world.
Stella Artois is building upon its Super Bowl call to action with a digital campaign created in collaboration with Water.org co-founder Matt Damon. As part of the campaign, patrons at restaurants and hotels are told they will need to wait six hours to get drinking water or running water in their rooms. Their shock, frustration and impatience is captured using hidden cameras. Once the tensions rise, Damon appears on a disguised screen, sharing the realities of the global water crisis and putting customers’ experience into perspective. The video leaves viewers speechless, some even tear up when they learn how difficult it is for others to obtain this necessity. Around the world, 844 million people do not have a service providing water to their homes – a fact that is hard for many Americans to truly grasp. Damon explains the disconnect, “We’ve learned this issue is hard for many people to relate to because clean, accessible water is a constant presence in their lives. Our challenge is to help create that understanding.” The “Wait For Water” stunt is part of the brand’s ongoing “Buy A Lady A Drink” initiative, which launched in 2015 and over the course of four years has helped more than 1 million people gain access to clean water.
While Stella Artois’ Super Bowl ad helped raise awareness for the global water crisis, the “Wait For Water” stunt helped put it in perspective for consumers – inspiring them to take action based on their experience. Creating an emotional response is easy, but bridging the gap between consumers’ everyday lives and an issue that, while important, feels very distant from their realities, is a challenge. Brands aiming to change behaviors can take a page from Stella Artois’ playbook to make social and environmental issues hit closer to home.