Yorkshire Water, Experiential Marketing Campaign Blockage Reduction

Yorkshire Water contacted Link Communication to use experiential marketing to help reduce blockages in their sewer systems. Using face to face community engagement teams to discuss issues regarding correct waste disposal of everyday toiletries and cooking fats.  We were able to share and demonstrate correct behaviours in an effective, informative and engaging way, in targeted hot spots across cities and towns of Yorkshire.

Experiential Event Area Equipment Production

Interactive Brand Experience Displays

Included the creation of a target throwing game for static event sites, where the public were challenged to select the correct waste channel for wet wipes (the most common causes of blockages). The interactive game was set up within a bathroom environment reflective of a daily usage location, with sink, toilet and bin to pick from. The physical act of selecting the targets represents the correct behaviour that the campaign aimed to achieve; with the messaging communicated in a fun, non-disciplinary way to encourage wide spread acceptance and adoption via game play. The interactive game created crowds for children and adults alike which was especially beneficial at engaging the core audience of families using wet wipes with infants.

Yorkshire Water Campaign Team & Equipment

Roaming Interactive Brand Experiences

The creation of visual, interactive water shakers enabled members of the public to both see, experience and understand the difference between how wet wipes and toilet tissue disintegrates in water. When shaken, the water bottle with toilet tissue almost immediately turns into cloudy grey water, as the tissue disintegrates away. By stark and often shocking contrast, the wet wipe in the shaker stays completely intact, irrespective of age and how much it is shaken. These simple but highly effective demonstration devices had thousands of visible ‘ah ha’ moments, when people ‘got it’ and understood what happens beyond the U-bend of their toilets!

interactive water shakers showing wipes do not disolve

Branded Mascot Character Animation

The promotional event teams were tasked with bringing to life a giant sized character mascot, called the Wipesaur. This seven foot tall dinosaur type monster fed off the rubbish that people flushed down the toilet or poured down their drains. The animation team devised behaviours, movements, poses and actions for the mascot character to perform each event day. The interactive nature of the competition was brought to life with the use of a giant cage, which people were tasked with locking the monster into.

Yorkshire Water Brand mascot Wipesaur

Social Media Integration

To amplify the activity to a wider audience than those reached first hand, the public were encouraged to pose with the Wipesaur mascot, hold up funny selfie boards or more serious promise pledges to show they supported the promise of helping to unblock sewers. In addition to posting and sharing selfies, a visual game was created to unlock a padlock with a mystery key to win a range of prizes, ranging from low value £10 shopping vouchers, up to a brand new £500 iPad. These incentives helped to attract hundreds of social media hits each event day, leading to mass scale amplification throughout the campaign.

Fully Electric Van Branded Promotional Vehicles

To transport the promotional equipment, the touring event teams and added extra branded impact to the event sites; a set of 100% fully electric promotional vehicles were created and toured. Link selected the vehicles, put them through inspections, MOTs, services and transported them to their head office where multiple banks of EV chargers are available for daily use. The vehicle graphics were then designed, produced and applied, with full colour printed wraps and branded canopies which extend out to create a compact event area for audience engagement.

Yorkshire Water Branded electric vehicles

Experiential Marketing Tour Scheduling

The four month campaign spread across ‘blockage hotspots’ using targeted teams of engaging promotional staff with their experiential marketing kits, to the following types of areas:

Experiential Supermarket Activity

Link created a detailed supermarket roadshow tour schedule that took place every Friday for the four months, reaching and engaging supermarket shoppers while they were out purchasing wet wipes. At the supermarkets the team had the full event kit with them, which included both gazebos, the Wipesaur, a branded game area and event props.

The event area was an ideal way for the engagement team to attract the public and bring them over to the stand, where the team would then talk to them about blockages in their area and what they can do to help.  The team were also able to showcase the blockage packs and show the public exactly how they should be used. The team could also explain the serious dangers of flushing wipes down the toilet. Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsburys supermarkets were all reached and were a great way to interact with a large audience and maximise the reach of the activity.

experiential marketing campaign outside Morrisons supermarkets

High Street Experiential Activity

Every Saturday Link carefully planned out a busy high street hotspot event area that the engagement team could exhibit at for a day of experiential engagement to local residents. The team used all the event equipment as at supermarkets, plus the cage too. This flexed in accordance to the available space, so in the largest locations included, two gazebos, both of the branded electric promotional vans, the Wipesaur mascot, the interactive target throwing challenge, the social media game and the giant monster cage.

These larger scale event days really allowed for a fun event area and positive engagement with the promotional staff and the public. The use of the interactive brand experience games on the event area was most popular on Saturdays, as the volume of people with families was at its highest here, which allowed the team to really utilise the event kit and get as many engagements as possible. These locations were also best suited to social media too – which generated the greatest interest in the prize competition.

Yorkshire Water Wipesaur Brand Mascot

High Street Roaming Activity

Each Sunday was a day of roaming promotions on busy suburban areas, throughout the campaign. Link carefully mapped out particular high streets, busy parks with playgrounds, community centres, Sunday markets – and events we could visit in the hot spot areas. The promotional team usually split their time between the above types of locations to achieve maximum audience reach according to the footfall on each activity day.

The engagement team found Sundays to be the easiest day to engage with families, as Sunday typically is family day for a lot of people. High street roaming was a really effective and fun way for everyone to get involved and take some great pictures and learn more about blockages in their area. Kids packs were extremely well received on high streets and in the parks – especially while the Wipesaur was out roaming with the event teams too. The water shakers were well used in all locations, but were especially ideal for roaming demonstrations.

Brand ambassadors talking to the Public on high street

Midweek Door to Door Activity

Link created detailed mapping documents for each of the affected blockage areas, for the community engagement teams to follow and implement on their door to door activity; scheduled for peak times when people were most likely to open the door and be receptive to the team. A team of multi-lingual staff were selected to have conversations with the public and provided informative knowledge on the blockages. Each householder was presented with a blockage pack for their household, containing everything they needed to help prevent these blockages happening on their street.

Brand ambassadors going door to door

Midweek Takeaway & Restaurant Activity

In the evenings, after the door to door activity took place, the engagement team then headed in to visit takeaways/restaurants and the affected areas. The takeaways and restaurants that were visited were pre-mapped out for the engagement team, in the surrounding area hot spots to where the door to door was taking place – but with adjusted messaging aligned to reducing Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG). The restaurant activity was very well received: business owners and catering staff were thrilled that the team were out visiting local businesses trying to make a change in their area. All venues visited were keen to display the campaign posters and share the information about FOG with their catering staff.

Educating food businesses about proper disposal

Measurable Activity Results

Over the course of the four month / 100 day campaign, the teams were able to achieve:

  • An audience reach of over One Million people across the target blockage hot spots most important to Yorkshire Water.
  • Active participation of the interactive demonstrations to over 200,000 on the mix of experiential event days.
  • Presentation of branded ‘blockage packs’ as rewards for engagement to 50,000 residents in the affected areas.