I live in Orange County where water is a big topic mostly because it’s so close and so surfable. Just under the surface, however, is the other water topic — the lack of it.
Hurley, the purveyors of all things cool to surf, swim, or sun in — has made it their mission to improve the water coming into contact with those who buy their products. Their H2O campaign wins on all fronts for creating public awareness to save, clean, and use water wisely. By doing so we’ll preserve what we all love the most about Orange County – the ocean.
Last weekend I attended a four hour TALK session held at The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. (That’s the place where the swallows return in smaller and smaller numbers each year.) I was interested in hearing more about the usual eco-water issues – how low it’s becoming in this desert region that depends on the Colorado River for the majority of its fresh water.
The glass half full approach.
Rather than focus on less water coming into the region, they focused on preserving what we do have. The resulting H2O campaign is brilliant, in color and delivery. Kudos.
First the color, it’s the blue of a day filled with promise and an ocean that never ends. Happy. Joyful. Energetic.
Second, the direct tie in with the Hurley “H” logo. A bigger brand would shun the idea of messing with the sacred, but Hurley went for it.
Third, the full-frontal public engagement with no excuses. This isn’t your Mad Men campaign — it’s heartfelt, authentic, and necessary. Lots of eco-campaigns strap on a green mission, this one connects and resonates deeply with the OC population that identifies itself as a surfer even if they’ve never been on a board.
Taking it to the streets.
The TALK day brought in speakers who spoke on the school water education programs, city planning, grease capture at restaurants, no-water landscapes, water filters… and then there was “the water shed.” I love a good double entendre, especially in advertising as it engages your brain over and over. This one made smile in delight.
The Water Shed
The Water Shed is a mini-demo house on wheels. It folds up for transportation to the latest weekend event at the beach or school and unfolds to welcome participants to the reality of the energy it takes to move water in California – not find water, move water.
Moving water around the state takes up a big chunk of our energy resources. It’s not sitting on the surface like in Minnesota the land of 10,000 lakes; Southern California sees rain once every six months – maybe.
Inside the water shed you use your own energy to pump a quart of water and then you get to choose where you want to use that water — for your lawn, a shower, or maybe water food you can eat… Suddenly, using native plants as a landscape instead of high-maintenance, water-sucking grass is looking like a great option.
Collateral that keeps on giving.
I’m not sure which came first, The Ecology Center or the Hurley H2O campaign, they are so inner twined — the Hurley logo isn’t stamped all over the center’s website, but that brilliant blue is the accent color on the site and on signage which is an active enough reminder of the Hurley presence.
I’ve seen a ton of collateral material over the 35 years I’ve been in marketing, but two things stood out more than the color – the monster pamphlet/poster and the “inside” of the T-shirt.
Can you call it a pamphlet when it’s 12″ by 18″? And look what happens when you take out the staples and reassemble. Will you ever forget that one (blue) steak takes 1200 gallons of water to produce again?
The shirt had a secret to tell, too. Once I had it home I noticed that there was more than just a size tag printed on the inside neck, but a whole story about the shirt which took 1 gallon of water to make vs. 500 gallons most T-shirts use.
The shirt became a live reminder of what is possible. Just like the super-sized steak, I’ll never put on a t-shirt again and not wonder how many gallons of water it took to produce. It made me go the next step and check out their manufacturing approach for their full clothing line.
Lastly, Hurley carries its intentions and brand to other shores with their clean water program; if a country doesn’t have clean water to drink, a filter with a five gallon bucket can provide it for up to 10 years. If you have to bring a gift to a host, bring one that can keep them alive.
Awareness is the first step.
As any seasoned marketer knows, awareness is the first step to a sale. If people don’t know what’s possible, they can’t buy it when they need it. Hurley with The Ecology Center, the Water Shed, the public school program, and the global Water program makes people aware of the water problem first, provides solutions next, and oh-by-the-way, we make cool clothes worn by Californian’s top trend setters – surfers.
Hurley understands what butters their bread — a clean ocean brings happy customers who want to be near it and wear their clothes. But they also have their priorities in the proper order of People and Planet and then Profit.
This is what Ecolutionary Selling looks like.