Brita tackles plastic pollution with clever Instagram campaign


By Sharon Richey |

Inspiration, USA

While some people buy bottled water for convenience, others prefer the taste over tap water.

But it’s these consumption habits that are adding to the mountain of plastic bottles left at landfill. Annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to top half a trillion by 2021, far outstripping recycling efforts and jeopardising oceans, coastlines and other environments.

For those who buy bottled water based on taste, there’s a simple solution. Water filters.

The single-use plastic movement has provided a great opportunity for brands like Brita to entice bottled water consumers into the water filter category.

In a purpose-driven campaign to raise awareness of this environmental issue, Brita USA launched an effective social media activation to give consumers a startling wake-up call to a future filled with plastic waste.

Amplified using the hashtag #NoFilterNoFuture, the brand recruited 21 different influencers to share typically stylistic beach shots but with a unique twist.

Using Photoshop, each image was altered with plastic litter disrupting the beautiful coastline – a grave foreshadowing of what these areas of natural beauty could look like if our consumption habits do not change.

To start with, consumers were not told the images were Photoshopped leading them to believe the edited visuals were genuine. And each post was supported by the influencer’s personal viewpoint and story.

This was an important part of the strategy to provoke a shocked and outraged reaction from consumers that would jolt them to take action and reduce their use of single-use plastics.

The choice of influencers was key. The beautiful beach images would have to fit with the style of the Instagrammers feed and the influencer would need to be trustworthy for their followers to believe the photos were real.

The marketing landscape is constantly shifting as brands fight for the attention of the 1 billion people who scroll through Instagram a month - but Brita successfully captured consumer attention with this emotionally-charged campaign.

The company revealed its water filters could save the use of up to 1,800 water bottles per year – in a bid to attract conscious consumers who would like to reduce their single-use plastics without compromising on the taste of water.

Another effective influencer marketing tool is, rather than playing tricks on consumers, to fool the influencers themselves. Payless shoes created a fake designer pop-up shop to mislead influencers while Burger King tricked a social media star into promoting its funnel cake fries.