I had to cover this campaign trial by WaterAid.

It's creative on so many levels.

You can watch the explainer video below, then I've added some thoughts on the work.

What better time to address a person than when they're naked?

The video above covers a lot of why the context of this WaterAid campaign is so great - the pool allows for a conversation around water.

When you return to the locker you are asked if you swallowed any water during your swim.

You’re then served a personalised message telling you that in the exact time you were swimming, dirty water killed one child per minute in the developing world. Then you’re prompted to return your coin, or donate it.

In targeting the personal fitness industry, the Hope Locker, devised by Proximity and designed by MediaMonks, captures the attention of possible donors in an incredibly receptive moment.

After exercise, people are often a little more restful and considered. In this scenario they're also half-naked, perhaps feeling slightly vulnerable or more human, and hence empathetic.

And, of course, their attention has to be focused on the campaign just to get their pound coin back.

Experience and interaction

Experiential marketing is in vogue more than ever, perhaps as a response to tired digital advertising and creative.

As the cost of technology comes down, I hope to see more interactive, out-of-home applications like this.

There was an elegance with which Proximity attacked the twin problems of 'how can we encourage small donations in an increasingly cashless society?' and 'where would people be most receptive to our message?'

For many agencies, the central challenge of 2016 is how to inject creativity and interactivity back into their campaigns, to avoid blending into the background.

Click to enlarge.

hope locker

Donations *and* PR

The great thing about experiential marketing is the way that online activity can amplify small scale offline projects and help allay fears over ROI.

If this trial goes well, though, there's no reason these lockers can't be rolled out further, as Astrid van Essen, MD at MediaMonks explains:

Proximity challenged us to produce a fully functional locker that could be implemented in real situations and venues as part of an ongoing campaign – something that could exist beyond a one-off promotional installation.

The campaign’s concept is both disruptive and provocative, but it serves a great purpose. We’re always happy to develop new ways in which digital production helps promote charitable campaigns. 

For more on WaterAid, read What makes the WaterAid donations page so effective.

Ben Davis

Published 28 January, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (3)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

What worse time to address a person than when they're naked? There has been so much bad PR about charities harassing kindly folk, and using very little of their income for good works, that I think most people react with suspicion these days. ("Your £1 coin could give" - why do they say "could" - why not "will"?) And if we're naked we can't use google.

The problem is genuine, with about 2 children dying each minute -based on figures from here:

But I can't find stats about these lockers. Assuming each locker costs the same as an iPad, say £500 (that's 500 one pound donations), plus an ongoing cost for maintenance and replacement, how do the economics work out? Would there be a problem with theft or vandalism? Do enough people say "yes" that there's any money left over to help the children?

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff

Yep, the price of the tech will have to be competitive to make it worthwhile. But it does capture data, as well (asking for email address etc).

If it's implemented in a busy locker room it might make profit, in which case the advertising and data capture is free.

I also still think the scenario is conducive to donation - children often use the lockers and will be keen to take part, too.

over 2 years ago


James Martin,

I hate the lengths charities now go to.
Why can't we see a more positive message about the good they've done rather than constantly driving grim statistics at us to remove any pleasure someone may have enjoyed during their swim.
Last May we saw how far this strategy can lead with the sad case of Poppy collector Olive Cooke. I fear the creative agency's ambitions for an award have coloured the motives behind this idea.

over 2 years ago

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