Image courtesy of Tappening
In what's being described as a 'wild postings' campaign, the anti-bottled water company Tappening will fill top markets, including Washington DC, with ads that congratulate Barack Obama on becoming the next President-elect. And the ads are debuting four days before the election. It's a brazen publicity stunt, sure—but the most effective advertising campaigns are often exactly that. In fact, Tappening's previous semi-controversial ad campaign suggested that the candidates both had a drinking problem--they were drinking bottled water.
The Pro Tap Water Ads
Other ads, in addition to the one pictured above, will feature slogans such as:
• "Congratulations on winning the election and switching to tap water, President-elect Obama"
• "President-elect Obama, you stopped drinking bottled water. Then you won the election. Coincidence?"
• "Start Your Own Economic Bailout: Stop Spending Money on Bottled Water"
• "The Government's Not Bailing You Out: Bail on the Bottle. Turn to Tap"
• "You can drink 1,000,000 glasses of tap water and it would still cost less than a single bottled water."
And since Tappening is an admirable, for-profit company that's seeking to capitalize on a decline of bottled water (one of the most needlessly impact-heavy industries in operation), its intentionally controversial ad campaigning seems more than justified. Tappening has over 5.5 million hits clocked in on their website (thanks in no small part to the tenacious advertising), where the company sells BPA-free water bottles designed to harness the potential of tap water.
Branding Tap Water
What Tappening seems to be doing is branding tap water itself—and it's a smart move. Nowhere on the ads do we see the company's water bottles. There's only a denouncement of bottled water, and a sort of savvy push towards tap. It's reminiscent of the "Got Milk?" ads in this sense, since the advertising is aimed at a commodity instead of a particular product. This could prove to be a successful way to recalibrate public conception of drinking tap water—with the idea itself being pushed to the forefront, and the company responsible taking a back seat to the message.
It's an interesting methodology to be sure, and worthy stab at a largely (warning: not-so-slick-or-adman-savvy pun incoming) untapped market.