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New Metropolitan Advertising Campaign Insists Consumers Don't Need to Go to Extremes to Save Water, Money; Comical ``Don't/Do'' Television, Radio Campaign Promotes Availability of Consumer Rebates.

LOS ANGELES -- How far would you go to save water? What about sipping from a neighbor's sprinkler or washing dishes while bathing?

A humorous advertising campaign being unveiled on television and radio next week by the Metropolitan Water District and the Family of Southern California Water Agencies maintains consumers don't have to go to those extremes to save water and money.

The intensive two-month campaign, launching next Monday, April 10, suggests different ways to conserve water by contrasting the ridiculously absurd with the sublimely simple in advertisements that promote the availability of consumer rebates for water-saving fixtures and appliances.

"Recent rains haven't washed away the need to conserve water," said Metropolitan General Manager Jeff Kightlinger. "For Southern Californians, using water efficiently is important every day of the year. The good news is that there are many simple things you can do to save water without sacrifice."

The advertisements juxtapose measures like drinking from a fish tank against more practical water-wise methods such as cashing in on rebates for "smart" sprinkler controllers, dual-flush toilets and high-efficiency clothes washers. The messages, which also appear in magazines, call on consumers to access rebate information by logging onto the "bewaterwise.com" Web site.

Dubbed the "Don't/Do" campaign, the $1.5 million promotion will air on top Los Angeles and San Diego television and radio stations through late May. Commercials will be seen during evening news broadcasts on KCBS-TV Channel 2, KNBC-TV Channel 4, KTLA-TV Channel 5, KABC-TV Channel 7 and KCAL-TV Channel 9 in Los Angeles.

In the San Diego area, spots will run during the evening newscasts at KFMB-TV Channel 8, KUSI-TV Channel 9, KGTV Channel 10, and KNSD-TV Channel 39. The commercials also will be featured during game broadcasts for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and San Diego Padres on Fox Sports West.

"The television spots illustrate silly and savvy conservation methods in line-art drawings brought to life through a sort of retro animation, designed to cut through the clutter with a strong, simple 30-second message," said Kathy Cole, Metropolitan's interim deputy general manager for external affairs. "Sixty-second radio ads tell the story of 'Fred,' who showers only once a week to save water, and serial water wasters 'Bob' and 'Peg'."

The cartoon-like drawings also are featured in full-page advertisements to run in local editions of Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset, Time, Newsweek and California Landscape magazines.

"The campaign speaks to several multicultural audiences at once, showing that being smart about water is actually very easy," said Carolyn Johnson, creative director of Johnson-Ukropina, the Irvine-based advertising firm that helped Metropolitan create the campaign. "It's also designed to break through the clutter of competing multimillion-dollar campaigns by featuring simple messages with straightforward animation that does the trick."

The upcoming campaign is the latest approach taken by Metropolitan and the Family of Southern California Water Agencies to spread the conservation mantra, particularly water savings outdoors where up to 70 percent of water is used. Earlier efforts have focused on encouraging painless changes in outdoor water use and promoting California Friendly landscaping. A recent Metropolitan study concluded consumers throughout Southern California have nearly cut in half the time they water their lawns and gardens since the District launched its advertising efforts in 2002.

"Southern Californians can't afford to view conservation as a quick fix," Cole said. "Saving water is something we all must do to help adapt to our region's natural climate variability. Every drop of water we save today is a drop of water we can store in a reservoir or groundwater basin and use in dry times and droughts."

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 18 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other water-management programs.
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Date:Apr 7, 2006
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