The UNICEF Tap Project was an initiative to provide clean water to children in developing countries started by Droga & Esquire
David Droga was selected as one of 20 exceptional artists, scientists, and medical professionals by Esquire magazine for inclusion in their “best and brightest” edition in 2006. Not like the others, they dared Droga to demonstrate his intelligence.
The task of branding the unbrandable was assigned to him as a challenge. Think about a brand you can use to effect positive change in the world.
One page of their publication was made available to him at no cost for his use. When he saw that blank page, he said, “OK, I’m not going to use it for any of our current customers – I want to develop something new.”
The story goes that Droga was contemplating this test while enjoying a drink at an outside café when the server came by to refill his glass.
And there was his idea. He would “brand” tap water.
Droga5’s approach to this problem was to ask the thought-provoking question, “What if every glass of water you drank quenched someone else’s thirst?”
He did this by contacting an organization whose name is synonymous with clean water.
Hence, they called UNICEF and informed them of Droga’s intention to do so. They yelped and begged you to stop, almost falling off their seats. Droga first pitched the concept to Esquire, and to their credit, the magazine has been a staunch supporter from the start. They were so enthusiastic that they lent their pages to the cause, which ultimately became one of the largest projects in American history.
At its inception in 1990, UNICEF’s Tap Project helped millions of children all around the globe get access to safe water for drinking over the following eight years.
New York City’s tap water is known for being particularly tasty, so branding it might help bring attention to the global water situation while also giving consumers a chance to make a difference.
The mechanics were simple: when you drink, you must also give. People in New York City were requested to pay a dollar for the tap water they regularly get free of charge in honour of World Water Day on March 22. A youngster in need got 40 days’ supply of clean water for every $1 donated.
These prompted individuals to consider how much they valued a freebie.
Since Esquire was so enthusiastic about the concept, it featured a three-page spread and threw a launch party attended by celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Oprah’s friend Gayle King.
This effort transformed regular tap water into a recognised brand with real economic worth. The project’s massive scope, both physically and virtually, may be attributed to the participation of restaurants, celebrity chefs, and the media.
More than eighty million people heard the message because of the celebrities who shared it. Five and a half million dollars were collected on the inaugural World Water Day. They made people think about the value of something they get for free.
Esquire was so excited about the idea, the magazine gave not a one-page ad but a three-page spread and hosted a launch event with stars such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Oprah’s BFF Gayle King.
The project transformed tap water into a brand – something of value. Involvement from restaurants, celebrity chefs, and the media gave the project a huge scale, both on-ground and online.
The star power helped spread the word, reaching more than 80 million people. On that first World Water Day, $5.5 million was raised.