For most of the past decade, Australia has been suffering from its worst drought on record, which has affected more than half of the country's farmland. Although water-usage restrictions are commonplace in the majority of cities across the country, Australians showed little interest in positive stories on how to address the water crisis.
Aware of the magnitude of the crisis, steel manufacturer BSS implemented a number of initiatives to minimize the company’s use of fresh water and serve as a national leader in promoting more widespread water conservation.
In order to further support water conservation, a campaign strategy was developed to engage young Australians in the sustainability movement and teach them about the importance of water harvesting, conservation and management.
A core element of the campaign was the Tank a Day Challenge (TADC). It aimed to kick-start primary-school water conservation through provision of rainwater tanks to selected Australian schools — one tank each school day for one year — totaling 200 tanks. The TADC campaign had a strong educational component designed to empower the next generation with the message that they could help Australia manage water better.
Schools participating in the challenge submitted written responses about the importance of water for their schools and secured a high percentage of students to complete the educational water-saving quiz on the TADC website.
The campaign was sustained by ongoing media coverage, bolstered by several media events and a partnership with a national morning TV program, which announced the selected schools on a weekly basis.
The strong media relations generated over 1,200 articles, 94% of which communicated the campaign’s key educational messages. Additionally, the campaign attracted principals and students attention: 20% of primary schools across Australia participated in the challenge, and more than half a million primary school students completed the TADC educational water-saving quiz. One in four Australians was aware of the TADC and associated it with BSS, thereby contributing to a jump in the company’s corporate reputation ranking from 10th to eighth place in one year.