Southern Water

Bringing about behaviour change for a sustainable future in the South East.

We partnered with Southern Water to make a lasting impact through a full-service campaign

At the heart of it, the root of the problem is that the South East is water-stressed.

Southern Water partnered with Mediaworks, drawing on our extensive industry expertise and previous expertise in executing full-service campaigns.

In the southern and south-eastern regions of England, water scarcity is a pressing issue exacerbated by climate change and population growth. Southern Water has initiated a program to expand capacity, reduce leakage, and lower daily water consumption from 140 to 100 litres per person by 2040. Their aim is to instigate a lasting transformation in consumer water usage habits.



We think

Saving water in the South East required an impactful campaign that would show just how important and easy it is.

To develop an effective behaviour change model for Southern Water we centred our approach on the COM-B model, supplemented by principles from Nudge Theory. The COM-B model ensures that individuals possess the Capability, Opportunity, and Motivation to modify their behaviour. Nudge Theory, on the other hand, focuses on encouraging small behavioural changes through subtle interactions.

Our research extended to examining strategies employed by water companies in the UK and globally to address similar challenges, as well as academic studies regarding attitudes towards water consumption.

Southern Water had already created six audience personas internally, which served as our foundation for shaping both creative and media strategies. These audience profiles were further refined using our primary in-house planning tool, Global Web Index (GWI). We recommended prioritising three out of the six personas:

  1. Time-poor and future-focused families

  2. Conscientious sustainability enthusiasts

  3. Savvy, responsible, and mature individuals

To ensure minimal wastage and prevent encroachment on neighbouring water companies' territories, we cross-referenced our channel choices and geo-targeting capabilities with Southern Water's complex geographical footprint.

We devised a focused media plan, encompassing TV, OOH, Audio, Social, Display, and Search, driven by defined audiences and geo-targeting. A gap analysis on digitally disenfranchised audiences led to physical advertising on pharmacy bags, increasing our emphasis on OOH advertising.

Our planning team collaborated with client services and Southern Water for final proposals. To address reputation issues and adopt behavioural science, our customer-centric campaign emphasised five key actions, which if adopted by customers, would help us reach our water reduction goals:

  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth

  • Take shorter showers

  • Utilise a water butt for gardening

  • Load your dishwasher to full capacity before running it

  • Regularly inspect toilet for leaks

We do

To ensure comprehensive customer reach and tailored messaging, our media plan adopted a multi-channel approach, allowing us to customise our messaging for each channel. Our in-house team have direct relationships with all mainstream media companies from the likes of DAX, Global, ITV, Channel 4, and Sky Adsmart, through to wider traditional media partners including Ocean, Clear Channel and Bauer media.

Our final channel mix included:

  • Out of Home (OOH): Deployed 3 distinct creatives in two waves across 48-sheet and 6-sheet sites throughout the region.

  • TV/AV: Utilised Sky AdSmart and ITVX for precise targeting within the Southern Water supply area

  • DAX/Instream: Utilized 5 different creatives in 30-second ads

  • YouTube: Leveraged 5 creatives, featuring edits from TV/AV content, formatted as 15-second and 6-second ads

  • META: Employed 5 creatives distributed across various static images and carousels

  • Google Display: Utilised 5 creatives in multiple formats

  • Google Search: Implemented a paid search campaign geographically targeted to key search terms

  • Influencer: Executed a paid influencer campaign across various social channels

Pharmacy Bags: Sponsored Pharmacy Prescription bags across the entire region

We measure

The campaign effectively communicated the importance of water conservation and practical steps for daily life, fostering a community-wide effort to reduce water consumption, aligning with Southern Water's goal of sustainability and resource management.

The campaign, running from May 2023 to August 2023, achieved an impressive 39 million impressions across all channels.



change in claimed action after viewing campaign



positive sentiment (liked or loved the campaign)



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CR Smith

CR Smith

Mediaworks partnered with CR Smith to improve brand awareness and drive conversions. Read more here.