The decision by TasWater to take decisive action to resolve issues surrounding unsafe drinking in 24 regional towns and communities provided TasWater with a communications challenge and opportunity.
The public expects safe drinking water to simply flow from the tap. Despite the relatively small number of people impacted, the reality that 24 towns in 21st Century Tasmania did not have safe drinking water raised issues of commitment and performance by TasWater. Critics might either leverage this situation as a social justice issue, while others portray TasWater as using public funds to disproportionately benefit a very small percentage of the population.
TasWater needed a campaign that would engage both sides, and promote progress against the significant commitment without creating unrealistic expectations.
SmithAssociates created the campaign theme and full rollout, for 24glasses.
Not very long ago, Tasmanians didn’t pay for water. But then that changed.
Southern Water had the difficult task of introducing residential water meters and other pricing increases (required to combat ageing infrastructure in Southern Tasmania) into a community that perceived water to be in abundant supply and also a ‘birth right’.
With this campaign, SmithAssociates defused community angst and anger about the upcoming changes.
The brand campaign and many subsequent communications dealt with the complex issues to such a degree that employees of Southern Water reported feeling pride again. One employee even got a tattoo of our water meter mascot, ‘Merl’.
The campaign meant the changes went ahead with overall barely a ripple.
This is just one of many community engagement campaigns that demonstrates our ability to create powerful and strategically sensitive messages that change the way people think, behave and feel.