Juxtaposing the Mission to Mars with WaterAid’s mission on earth

Despite being the fourth biggest island in the world, almost half of Madagascans have no clean water, and around nine in ten still have nowhere decent to go to the toilet.

Our objective was to help WaterAid tell the story of the yet-to-be-realised potential of the Madagascan community and the barriers blocking it, in a way that would resonate with the nation and drive increased consideration (no easy task with the COVD-19 pandemic causing the public to look increasingly inward).


Third Sector Awards: Marketing Campaign of The Year
Third Sector Awards: Best Charity Film
DMA Awards: Silver for Best Performance Marketing campaign
DMA Awards: Bronze for Best Thoughtful Marketing Campaign
DMA Awards: Shortlisted for Charity campaign category
The Drum Social Purpose: Shortlisted for NFP Campaign of the year
The Drum DADI Awards: Shortlisted for Charity campaign category

What we did

With three Mars missions landing in early 2021, we identified a cultural moment with universal meaning. Using a content-led media campaign, we put water at the heart of the news cycle by juxtaposing this with the story of a community in Madagascar, and the difference clean water could make there.

What we did

Working with WaterAid’s in-field teams on the ground in Madagascar to ensure the community was represented with accuracy and authenticity, creative partners Don’t Panic produced a beautiful, animated film using a voiceover by Sir Trevor McDonald and a specially-composed version of Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’ to help grab attention.

What we did

We used TV to rapidly build reach, with a combination of TV and digital driving frequency over the five-week campaign. To maximise budget, we brokered an exclusive C4 TV/VOD partnership including a contextual C4 News spot on the night the NASA mission landed.

What we did

To further amplify the activity, we used display video to drive engagement and social to drive reach. We then utilised different tactics in platforms by optimising towards both reach and engagement across Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, whilst continuing to drive video views across YouTube and Teads. This enabled us to deliver mass engagement, implement contextually relevant placements and reach an emotionally engaged audience.

Against the key campaign objective of driving increased consideration, we saw a +5% uplift in consideration, an 11% increase in quality and a +10% uplift in value immediately after of the campaign, as well as a positive movement in other key metrics.

The campaign also delivered a huge 18% increase in cash and regular donations and live and response rates were significantly higher than the previous 6-month average.

  • 18%

    Increase in donations

  • +5%

    Uplift in consideration

  • +10%

    Uplift in value

At WaterAid, we are always looking for new ways to share stories which communicate a very real need for action. We have embarked on a journey to adapt our advertising, and this campaign is a real step towards that. Working with The Kite Factory and Don’t Panic, we created a campaign we’re really proud of, that got people to take notice and take action. Johnty Gray, Mass Engagement Director, WaterAid UK 

Our work

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