It’s hot. You feel like a nice chilled glass of water so you head over to the tap.
Simple right? Well, flowing water is a luxury that not everyone has.
The recent drought in South Africa caused water levels to reach critical-low levels in several provinces, with the Cape Town making international headlines as the first major city to have it’s water supply cut off.
Residence were told that unless they would curb their usage of water “Day Zero” would arrive and no more water will be pumped into homes. Severe water restrictions were implemented to try push back Day Zero.
In order to raise even more awareness of this critical issue and help residents understand that every water droplet saved can make a big difference, Digitata Insights conceptualized and developed the Smart Water Savers Game with Sunlight, Unilever‘s leading laundry brand.
“The Sunlight Smart Water Savers Game offered a way for people to have fun while learning how to help the country,” explains Henk Swanepoel, Chief Marketing Officer at Digitata Insights.
To achieve this objective, Digitata Insights developed a USSD-based game that could be played on feature phones, which still constitute 60 percent of the local mobile market, in one of five South African vernacular languages. The interactive game was free to play on the two leading local mobile networks, Vodacom and MTN. A web-based solution was also developed for use on smart devices and desktops.
Using the six top tips for easy domestic water saving, players moved through a number of levels to earn points that could then be converted into airtime.
“As players progressed they also collected digital buckets of water. Our MeMe mobile gaming platform automatically provided Unilever with accurate reports on the number of buckets collected, which the company then matched with an equivalent amount of portable water that was delivered to Western Cape communities,” explains Swanepoel.
Players spent an average of 10 minutes engaging with the game and 71,864 users revisiting the game to check the live daily rain forecast and weather report, which was included as an additional gaming element,
“More importantly, the campaign’s success ultimately had a significant social impact on the most afflicted areas in the drought stricken Western Cape, with 120,000 litres of fresh, portable water donated.”
Winning the Best use of Gamification
Through this gamification initiative, Digitata Insights received global recognition as the company walked away with a Silver for ‘Best use of Gamification’ at the prestigious Festival of Media Global Awards held at the Rome Cavalieri, in Rome, Italy on 14 May.
The Festival of Media Global is the foremost congregation of high-level decision makers in the $1 trillion international advertising industry.
“We’re delighted to receive global recognition from such a highly respected organisation,” comments Swanepoel, “It is the only global awards programme that celebrates the best media campaigns from around the world and is open to anyone involved in brand communications.”
“More importantly, though, the campaign entrenched new behaviours among those who engaged with the platform. This has had an indelible social impact, not only on the communities in the Western Cape that received water, but among ordinary South Africans. By improving education around the imperative need to save water, the impact of this concept will be felt for years and will hopefully help to materially change the lives of those hardest hit by the prevailing drought,” he concludes.