Creating cultural impact by highlighting the true power of the water to help save young men from drowning.



80% of the people that drown in the UK every year are men. This is often due to the fact that they are unaware of the risks or vastly over estimate their ability to cope in water should they find themselves in trouble. We needed to make them aware of the dangers without demonising the water or discouraging them from enjoying it.



We worked closely with RNLI’s media agency, OMD to define the best way to deliver our highly localised messages in the pilot locations. It was important that the media supported the creative in bringing water to dry land. The ambient elements we created were especially pivotal in demonstrating the power of the water and its strength to men who think they are strong enough to overcome it.

We carried this message across Facebook, Twitter and ambient media which spearheaded the campaign and we placed pint glasses printed with Respect the Water messaging in local pubs close to the water to inform people of its dangers when mixed with alcohol. The campaign was supported by contextual radio and outdoor.

The real innovation of the campaign is that it brings the power and strength of water to dry land to stop men underestimating water.



The campaign specific content for Twitter and RNLI’s Facebook page made it simple to track reach and the results are extraordinary – a reach of 7.4 million people over the three weeks the campaign was live.

The story featured on 85% of key regional print and online titles, and 79% broadcast in the pilot area.

Equally impressive are the reach for the radio ads (13 million) and even ITV and BBC picked up the story reaching a further 767,000 viewers.

Over 1000 people alone engaged with the punchbag and tens of thousands with the tonne.

Despite being restricted to the South East of England, the campaign has even been picked up on social media by lifeboat crews and other people in New Zealand, USA and Ireland.



Leo Burnett



RNLI Respect the Water

Saving lives at sea

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Leo Burnett