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Romancing the state: Love California by being water wise

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California is in a drought. A pretty bad one, and a pretty long one. But still, a drive through town reveals one beautiful, thick green lawn after another and gutters flowing with runoff. It doesn’t have to be that way. Just ask the new Metropolitan Water District (MWD) mascot, Ms. California, who made her television debut in two advertisements that will run in Los Angeles and San Diego counties through Sept. 28.

The “Don’t Waste Another Minute Wasting Water” campaign features a svelte and golden California with legs and big blue eyes and was created by MWD in cooperation with the 26 member agencies it represents. The campaign also includes radio advertisements and traffic report sponsorship on English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Korean stations. Online and mobile ads throughout the district’s six-county service area will continue through Oct. 30. Links to the TV and radio are on the Be Waterwise website.

“This campaign taps into people’s love for California and our lifestyle,” said Renee Fraser, chief executive officer of Fraser Communications, which created the campaign for MWD. “Knowing that people are already conserving, we found a way to move people into a higher level of conserving, like replacing a section of their lawn with California Friendly plants,” Fraser added. “This campaign promotes the idea of being California Friendly as a way of life.”

Ah, love in California in the summer! One spot explores just what a man will give up to save water—and his relationship with the state he loves. The other ends in a loving embrace by two little girls after a saddened California has seen people wasting water in their homes.

MWD is also promoting “Water Wise Wednesdays” with segments prepared for TV and radio stations, online advertising, and billboard and movie theater ads. The campaign is part of $5.5 million authorized by MWD’s Board of Directors in March for a regional communications, outreach and advertising campaign aimed at promoting greater water awareness and encouraging additional conservation.

A parallel education effort will use the tagline “Water is Serious Business.” Indeed it is, as anyone who has seen the movie Chinatown or followed the exploits of entrepreneurs like William Mulholland can attest. The education component will deliver more complex messages, using long-form formats to delve into related water reliability issues.

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