As the California drought continues, panicked headlines have made way for resolve for change, with officials confidently declaring “the sky is not falling,” and the state will adjust its water use just as it has in the past. As the L.A. Times points out, there are precedents for drought sparking significant change in California water policy, with the Central Valley Project in the 1930s, the State Water Project in the 1950s, increased urban conservation in the 1970s, and the state’s Drought Emergency Water Bank in the 1980s.
Last fall, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive directive calling for a 20% reduction in water use by 2017. In April the Mayor and creative shop Omelet launched the city’s Save the Drop water conservation awareness campaign across digital, print, social, and out-of-home advertising to encourage residents to start looking at all the little things they can do to curb their water use, as well as offering incentives like a $3.75 per square foot rebate for lawn replacement. Now it moves to TV, cinema, and radio with PSAs narrated by Steve Carell, Jaime Camil (Jane the Virgin), and scored by Moby.
In the spots, created by Omelet and design company We Are Royale, we see all the good our little friend Water does, and various ways we can conserve to keep the little drop around a bit longer.
Not just narrating the PSA, Carell is embracing the state’s new reality.
The campaign relies on earnest encouragement over guilt-tripping people into taking a shorter shower or watering the lawn. Omelet associate creative director Alex Delyle says that was a very conscious choice. “To drought-shame, or not to drought shame? It was a big question when we sat down to crack this campaign,” says Delyle. “Shaming someone is easy, and it can feel good for a second, but ultimately the person being shamed just tunes it out. And yeah, we do believe that water waste isn’t an act of maliciousness–it’s about a lack of information. As marketers, we know the best way to change behavior is to craft a message that’s clear and creative. As Angelenos, we know that this city is built on optimism and positivity, and that it was on us to create a campaign that embodied this spirit.”