Sydney Water is one of the world-leaders when it comes to providing clean, clear drinking water, but they’re facing two challenges: the first is the rise in single-use bottle sales, the majority of which end up on the landfill. Even with intensive campaigning, Sydney Water still removes over one million plastic bottles from the waterways. The second challenge: their public perception and, in some cases, the lack of it: 25% of customers don’t know what Sydney Water is, what they do, or what they stand for. When they are known, it’s as a functional government provider, not an active partner in improving the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve. They needed a campaign which tackled all of this, and which successfully negotiates the red tape that comes with being a government agency. For example, government policy forbids Sydney Water from using ATL media (except in drought messaging), and that means their sponsorship-investment strategy needed to be on point, disruptive, and budget friendly.
Sydney Water is the official Hydration Partner of the Thunder and Sixers cricket teams competing in the Big Bash and Women’s Big Bash Leagues, and this sponsorship is the perfect engagement platform. The problem: the previous sponsorship activations were conservative, restricted mainly to providing fresh drinking water at hydration stations and handing out sports water bottles, and giving away plastic bottles was at odds with their goals. It needed to communicate two things: that Sydney Water is the best form of hydration, and to remind people to bring refillable bottles. Enter the innovative Bring it to Win It (BITWI) campaign, which focused on normalising the behaviour of bringing your own water bottles.
It started with getting the players to bring their own reusable bottles to matches as role models, but the secret weapon was using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and ‘water tags’. Throughout the season, these ‘water tags’ were included in the supporter packs which were sent with their season tickets, and were available at hydration refill zones.
The winning strategy built on cricket fans’ familiarity with ‘tap & go’ technology, and successfully married it with gamification designed to reward the right behaviour with prizes. This was the second year of a unique three-year strategy that would not only drive behavioural change in this season’s cricket fans, but was designed to build greater fan engagement year-on-year. All they needed to do was bring their reusable bottle, fill up at a dedicated water station, and tap their NFC-activated water tag on the specially created app found on tablets across the venues. Everyone with a tag was entitled to one tap per match day, so the more matches they attended, the more they could win. For example, a fan who tapped four times received a limited-edition team-branded stainless-steel water bottle. A fan who tapped five times or more went into the draw to win an exclusive end-of-season Backyard Bash BBQ with their favourite players. Fans were reminded to ‘Bring it to Win It!’ through targeted social media posts and in-stadium screen content, and there was an engaging bespoke CRM program where fans received personalised emails showing their individual progress to date, and reminded them to bring their bottle to the next match.
Over 25,000 fans engaged with the campaign over the season, and a massive 17,000 plastic bottles were saved from entering the landfill. Fans also saved themselves $38,234 by not buying these single-use bottles. All of this was created on a modest budget, and it showed that even without ATL media, you can create an engaging, interactive and enduring campaign that successfully influences behaviour to meet your objectives. In this case, it was to protect the environment, promote hydration for health, and transform Sydney Water’s brand image into an innovative health and wellness community partner, the best kind of liquid asset for Australia.
If you’d like to turn on the taps on your engagement, and improve your brand image, give us a call. We’ll help knock your marketing goals for a six.