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Jug full of tears and bathing buffaloes speak out for the need to save precious water

DDB Mudra’s new campaign for WaterAid India and the Government of India drives home compelling messages for water conservation, through two wacky commercials

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | March 23, 2016

WaterAid-India Click on the image to watch the TVC.

Water shortage is not just a serious issue in India, but around the world. In many parts of India, farmers are periodically suffer drought and in the arid interiors of the country, water often has to be fetched home from distant water bodies.

Spreading awareness of the need to conserve water has been a multi-pronged effort of not just governments, but multilateral agencies as well. Awareness that water is precious is spreading gradually. This year, for instance, many Indians have pledged to observe a dry Holi (the festival of colors).

Polluting sources of water, like rivers, streams and ponds, is another pressing issue in India. In rural India, for instance, villagers still bathe and let their cattle swim in local water bodies, apart from washing clothes and utensils in them. Often they defecate on the banks of water bodies, polluting the scarce sources of fresh water.

The Government of India, WaterAid India and the DDB Mudra Group, have created two ad films using slice of life situations, to drive home the need to conserve water and preserve clean water, where ever available. The two commercials send out a hard message for the need to conserve water, through two wacky scripts.

Neeraj Jain, Chief Executive, WaterAid India, said, “Water is a precious resource and India is one of the most water stressed nations in the world. It is important that this precious resource is conserved and local water sources are not polluted. The public service announcements that WaterAid India commissioned from DDB Mudra for use by the Government of India put across these messages clearly.”

The first film showcases a typical North Indian rural household, watching a cricket match on television. Villagers engrossed in the game, often cry out the Hindi idiom, “Gayi Bhains Paani Mein” (here goes the buffalo into the water) to express their disappointment in India’s performance in the game. After a while, an elderly man asks his young son to fetch him a glass of drinking water.

The son, who had been looking on at the cricket enthusiasts, fetches a glass of muddy water. The shocked father reprimands him. The youngster then quips that dunking buffaloes into the pond was bound to pollute the water in it.

The second TVC shows three bantering friends at a roadside eatery (the ubiquitous Indian dhaba) in a rural area. One of them is apparently moving to the city and the other two banter with him about how they would miss him and shed buckets of tears for him. They keep splashing water onto their faces to mime tears, till the jug of drinking water is spent.

After a while, one of them casually asks for drinking water and a waiter serves them three empty glasses. When they protest, the dhaba owner chides them for wasting precious drinking water. Both the TVCs put across the message that drinking was scarce and precious, but in a creative manner. The campaign has been extensively promoted on television and radio.

Sonal Dabral Sonal Dabral

Sonal Dabral, Chairman and CCO, DDB Mudra Group, said, “To work on a campaign for an issue of such critical importance as water conservation was not just exciting but daunting at the same time. We are really happy that by building on some very deep rooted insights about water, we were able to create work that has successfully connected with our audience and made them take a fresh look at this vastly ignored problem.”

Sambit Mohanty Sambit Mohanty

Sambit Mohanty, Creative Head, DDB Mudra North, said, “We live in a world where water is taken for granted, more so in rural, semi-urban areas where potable water is wasted and water bodies are used in an unhygienic manner. Our ‘Jal Hai Toh Kal Hai’ campaign aims to sensitize people to treat this precious natural resource with more respect and consideration."

The TVCs:




Agency: DDB Mudra Group

CCO: Sonal Dabral

Creative: Sambit Mohanty, Mohit Dabral, Brajesh Soni and Shivil Gupta

Account Management: Urvashi Guha, Mohit Kumar and Shailendra Chaturvedi

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