In an effort to bring attention to global water scarcity, this summer, IBM rebranded The Weather Channel as The Water Channel. They approached The Mill to develop a campaign that amplified this message and helped individuals visualize the true water cost of their everyday items.
We approached this campaign with both a physical and digital answer; developing an installation to visualize the cost of everyday products in water, in addition to a digital Chrome plugin that allowed shoppers to view the water cost of their online purchases. The aim - to help people make more sustainable and ethical purchasing decision
Across two days in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, three everyday items stood encased in blocks of ice symbolizing the volume of water it took to manufacture each of them. As the ice melted, it was channeled through a filtration system to create drinking water for the local community. This was captured via a mini-documentary that was used to drive traffic to the Browser extension. The Chrome extension provided thousands of online shoppers with an alternative insight into their products - encouraging the purchase of sustainable and ethically manufactured products.
Ideation / Direction / Creative Technology / Coding / Production
Every product that you eat, wear, buy and use takes freshwater to make. Which means every product has a water cost. The water cost of all the products you use contributes to your water footprint. The goods you consume connects your water footprint to the freshwater health of every ecosystem those goods originate from.
The Mill, IBM, and The Weather Channel wanted to bring awareness to the idea of a water footprint and water cost. We created an installation called Know The Cost featuring everyday items encased in ice sculptures made up of the amount of clean water it took to produce them (e.g. Latte = 126 gallons of water)
These ice monoliths will were on display in Piedmont Park in Atlanta for two days in June 2019. The water used to create the installation was then recycled through a filtration process, that made it accessible for passers by (and pets) to drink via a fountain on-site.
The Chrome Extension
How could we extend this message beyond the people of Atlanta to a wider audience? We needed to take this digital, and develop something accessible by the masses on your phone or computer.
We built a Chrome browser extension that tells you the water cost of some popular items purchased via Amazon. It contextualizes the true cost of buying new goods and displays facts about water scarcity for you to consider. It can be downloaded at thewaterchannel.org