Getty Images uses iconic watermark to make statement on World Water Day

Watermarks for Water supported a goal of ensuring access to water and sanitation for all.

Company: Getty Images
Campaign: Watermarks for Water
Agency mix: Current Marketing (PR agency), FCB Chicago (creative agency),
and FCBx (experiential agency)
Duration: March – April 2018
Budget: Pro bono on behalf of agencies

Getty Images used its iconic watermark to drive awareness and action in relation to World Water Day, which aims to solve the global water crisis.

Getty Images, assisted by Current Marketing, began discussions about the campaign in September 2017 and kicked off official planning in December.

The inspiration for the campaign came from the fact that more people die worldwide from drinking impure water than from war.

"To support the goal of ensuring access to water and sanitation for all, we created Watermarks for Water, which combined the power of photography with Getty’s iconic watermark to drive awareness and action," explained Paige McCrensky, VP of sales, marketing, and brand communications at Getty Images.

A microsite,, launched on March 22, World Water Day. Getty used social posts on branded channels to help drive web traffic, including a brand video about the effort.

"Once visitors arrived at the microsite, they were encouraged to take action by licensing or sharing an image with proceeds going to charity: water," said McCrensky.

When an image from the site was licensed, the Getty watermark was removed. When an image was shared on social media, it retained a watermark, along with a compelling fact about challenges surrounding clean water and a call to action for others to visit the site, license, or share.

Also on March 22, Getty opened a pop-up gallery in New York City for one day. The gallery featured images available for purchase, with all profits going to charity: water.

Later that evening, the brand held an exclusive press event, hosted by representatives from FCB Chicago, Current Marketing, Getty Images, and charity: water.

Getty continued to use social posts and media outreach to drive traffic to the microsite throughout March and April.

The campaign resulted in 44 media placements, with coverage appearing in Mashable, Digital Trends, and various communications trade outlets. The stories drove 540 clicks to the Watermarks for Water microsite on World Water Day alone, with visitors from 114 different countries.

Nearly half of the images featured at the pop-up gallery exhibition were sold, although a figure of profits generated for charity: water is not yet available.

About 50 people attended the press event on March 22, including photojournalists and writers from BuzzFeed, Digital Trends, Mashable, and Mic. Nine Instagram stories were also published by various media outlets during the event.

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