MEDIA & MARKETING | Karen Mesina, Singapore

What it's like to be offered bottled filthy water during a hot day

This ad campaign garnered total donation of $99,402.86.

Last December, ad agency Grey Singapore did a campaign for the Metro & Pioneer Junior College where they gave out free drinking water to shoppers.

Metro & Pioneer Junior College has been doing an annual charity drive during Christmas period since 2001. Coined as ‘Metro for Children’, they aim to help and transform the lives of disadvantaged children across Asia. Every year, Metro raises funds through donations made by staff & shoppers.

This year, Metro & PJC partnered with Singapore International Foundation (SIF) to raise funds for ‘Water For Life’ project – a project to provide clean water by installing membrane filters in over 100 schools and communities in Lamongan (Surabaya, Indonesia). In Indonesia, over 100 million people lack access to safe water and more than 70% of the population relies on water from potentially contaminated sources. This causes diarrhea; the second leading killer of children under age of 5 in the country which accounts for 20% child deaths each year.

The project spans up to 3 years in order to build 150 membrane filters. And part of the fund collected will go to sending teachers and students of PJC to volunteer in Lamongan for project implementation and to conduct public education programmes on water hygiene.

Contaminated water claims the life of thousands children in Indonesia each year. To end these untimely deaths, Metro needed $100,000 to install water filters. 

Grey Singapore chief creative officer Ali Shabaz said that spending a lot on conventional advertising methods would defeat the purpose. "We needed a lot cost method to raise the money required. And this is what spawned the idea of our campaign," he added.

On a hot summer day, Grey decided to give out free drinking water to thirsty shoppers. But when shoppers approached their representatives, they were handed the contaminated water that is similar to what kids in Lamongan, Indonesia have to drink which carries sediments, bacteria and grime.

On the bottle was a label that explained what they were looking at and urged them to donate to the Water for Life project - a project that will be installing 150 membrane filters across Lamongan regency.

The idea was executed outside all Metro stores in Singapore over a period of 4 weeks. Along with the on-ground activation, in-store posters and flyers further generated a buzz about the project.

"We expected shoppers to be shocked upon receiving the bottle. Upon reading the message and seeing the contaminated water, we expected them to understand the gravity of the problem and donate to the cause, and also to spread the words to their friends," Shabaz said.

The target set for this year’s project was to raise $100,000. The team managed to collect a total of $99,402.86 (inclusive of online donation) which is 11% more than last year’s Metro for Children project.

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