San Francisco doesn’t look much different these days than it usually does in the summer. It’s alternately foggy, a bit drizzly, and sunny. The weather has been hovering around 65 degrees, as expected. You don’t really start to see the problem until you fly over the state, passing over normally lush areas that are so brown and dry they look like they could rise up in flames at any moment (in fact, I watched this happen recently while driving past one of these tinderbox landscapes).
California is in the worst three-year drought in recorded history. And The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has decided that the best way to capture the public’s attention is with a sexy $300,000 campaign.
There’s this commercial, in which a deep baritone voice tells the viewer that water conservation feels “oh, so right”:
And this one:
There is also an array of public service announcements that will go on buses, billboards, bus shelters, and other high-profile spaces (see the slideshow above).
This isn’t the first creative campaign to come from the SFPUC. Last year, the agency put out a sewer awareness campaign filled with poop jokes. A sample ad: “No one deals with more crap than I do–San Francisco Sewer System.”
Amazingly, Californians as a whole aren’t paying much attention to the drought, in spite of a constant stream of warnings about its ramifications: higher food prices across the country, dwindling water levels in reservoirs, and, of course, fire.
In San Francisco, at least, residents have started conserving water, reaching a 5% reduction in water usage in May compared to initial projections. The campaign hopefully nudges those savings to even higher levels. Otherwise, the city might have to move on to a decidedly non-sexy strategy: water rationing.