Thames Water drought campaign

Beyond Communications

Client: Thames Water
Category: External communication design

Executive summary

By spring 2012 the South East had experienced the driest two years on record, leading to a serious water shortage with the potential to be one of the most serious droughts of our time. Seven water companies imposed hosepipe bans.

Thames Water needed, in their words, 'a fresh and clear campaign – nothing fancy or clever' to encourage people to use less water. It also had to be informative, raising awareness of the circumstances leading to the water shortage and managing people's expectations.

The campaign has proved hugely successful both in terms of recall, understanding of the messages and behaviour change.

Results show significant and sustained behavioural change as a result of the campaign. Almost half (48%) of Thames Water customers surveyed are using less water as a result of the campaign and 40% plan to continue to use less water in the long term. At the beginning of the campaign the tracking survey said customers took an average 4.7 baths per week; at phase three of the campaign participants said they took 2.8 baths per week.