Brita Canada and DentsuBos launch 4.5 hour skippable pre roll

Innovative 'walkumentary' campaign raises awareness of global clean water issues


Brita’s 4 ½ hour YouTube pre-roll depicts a Kenyan woman’s long journey to retrieve water for her family.

Matt Kohler, VP of marketing Clorox Canada, is in the business of purifying water via the company’s Brita brand, so when faced with the hard reality that about one in 10 people don’t have access to clean drinking water, he gets to work. “In places like Kenya, the girls in the household sometimes have to walk as much as four or five hours to get clean drinking water. When they’re doing that, they’re not going to school and that cycle of poverty perpetuates. It’s not just an issue of water and health; it’s an issue of education and poverty as well.”

Brita Canada believes that access to good clean water is a fundamental human right. With that in mind, the company began a longstanding partnership with ME to WE as a way to make that belief a reality. So far, the program has provided over 55,400 people in Kenya with clean water.

Brita_WaterBottle-MOCKUP_OCT6-2016-front“We wanted to make a difference in the world” Says Kohler, “so we worked with ME to WE to create a program where Canadians could buy specially-marked “Filter for Good” Brita bottles, filters and pitchers and each of those purchases actually would provide one full year of clean drinking water for someone in Kenya.”

Brita, in partnership with DentsuBos created a 4 ½-hour YouTube skippable pre-roll “The Walkumentary.”. The film takes viewers along in real time with a Kenyan woman who makes a painfully long walk to a river and back to retrieve drinkable water for her family.

“With on-demand video at our fingertips, consumers want immediate access to their content,” explains Travis Cowdy, Executive Creative Director at DentsuBos.

“We couldn’t imagine having to watch this even once, never mind live it every day. We used this ‘first world problem’ to highlight a real global issue,” says Cowdy. “By documenting her arduous journey in a raw, unadulterated way and tying the notion of skipping a pre-roll ad to helping women ‘skip’ their walk for water, we contextualized the problem in a media format that consumers can understand.”

“And not just understand, but act,” he notes. “We made it very easy for consumers to help, bringing the solution to their fingertips.”

Brita’s latest campaign has a 4 ½-hour YouTube pre-roll “walkumentary” at its centre. The film takes viewers along with a Kenyan woman who makes a long, long walk to a river and back to retrieve water for her family. Her total round-trip journey to get one jug of water is 4 ½ hours. The water itself is brown but it’s the best she can access.

The campaign was created by Brita’s agency DentsuBos with PR from Devon Consulting.

To launch the “walkumentary”, media were invited to view part of the video while walking on a treadmill at the WE Global Learning Centre as a way to put into perspective how arduous this journey can be. The difference is that viewers can skip through the video. They can also end the woman’s walk by clicking on a link that takes them to the Walmart ecommerce site where they can buy “Filter for Good” Brita filters and pitchers.

Kohler says, “It feels like there’s something novel here in the first world where we can skip almost anything that seems inconvenient. We’re just highlighting the fact that the woman doesn’t really get a chance to skip it. No one has ever made a 4 ½ hour pre-roll ad so our hope is that the novelty of that pre-roll will help drive some awareness. ”

The video is being promoted through social channels, YouTube, PR and in-store signage to help consumers understand the issue and let them know how their small choice to make a purchase can have a big impact.

This is where the partnership with the WE organization comes in. Those purchases provide the funds to drill a borehole that taps into a natural aquifer and provides water for an entire village in Kenya. The partnership built its first well for the village of Irkaat in 2017. The company that drills into the aquifer guarantees the water supply for 70 years, giving people in the village clean drinking water for a lifetime.

Kohler says, “In that village, to break that cycle of poverty, they built the well right beside the school. They had found that the number of students that attended the school was relatively low, especially girls. When we built that borehole, the population of the school automatically skyrocketed because people had to go get the water there anyway. They could go to school, fill a bucket with water and bring it home at the end of day.

Kohler says it really has transformed the village completely “Honestly this is most gratifying thing I’ve been able to work on in my career.”