As the California drought moves well into its fourth year, individuals, municipalities and companies alike are seeking innovative solutions to water protection. While Los Angeles fights drought conditions by dropping 96 million "shade balls" in reservoirs and Starbucks moves production of Ethos Water out of the state, one company is thinking differently about its approach – investing in innovative, yet fledgling technologies and motivating consumers to action.
California-brewed Shock Top is looking to make an impact on the major drought in its home state by taking a unique spin on solutions. The company launched the "Shock the Drought" campaign recently, a combination of consumer engagement and investment. To kick things off, Shock Top partnered with Indiegogo to fund innovative water-saving inventions. Shock Top's first investment was a $100,000 infusion in start-up Drop-A-Brick, which created a solution to reduce water usage by adding rubber "bricks" to toilet water tanks. The bricks, "when used the right way per toilet, can save 50 gallons a week." The investment will help to supply 10,000 free bricks to Indiegogo funders. Shock Top will also be contributing between $50,000 and $100,000 to other Indiegogo efforts on a case by case basis through the end of the year. Since every person can contribute to water reduction, Shock Top has also added a consumer engagement element to the campaign. Consumers can visit the Shock the Drought website to take a pledge to adopt water-saving actions. The site includes a slideshow of easy (and funny) water-saving ideas from filling the bathtub halfway or less to leaving lawn clippings on the lawn to hold moisture. Pledgees can then share their actions on social media with pre-populated tweets like, "I pledge to only fill the tub halfway, but don't worry I'm all the way clean. #ShockTheDrought http://bit.ly/1HIOGun."
Shock Top's "Shock the Drought" not only helps motivate consumers to action, but also supports new solutions. In some cases, these technologies may have never made it out of early stages without this cash infusion. As Drop-A-Brick co-founder said in a recent interview, "I think we would have died if not for the investment." In this way, the campaign has the ability to help create lasting solutions to a growing and urgent issue in the state where it operates.