Our oceans and waters are under great threat. If we want access to clean drinking water in the future, we must protect our waters from hazardous substances and start to see wastewater as a resource.
The Swedish Environmental Institute (IVL) performs a water purification technique transforming sewage water into high quality drinking water. The technique can be used across the globe. However, many preconceptions exist around purified sewage water and few are aware of the existing technology. With no marketing budget, IVL Swedish Environmental Institute needed to:
• Raise awareness about water shortage among the public
• Show that there are existing solutions to recycling water, specifically IVL’s technique
• Challenge preconceptions about drinking purified sewage water
IVL’s unique technique to directly purify sewage water was not enough to generate interest on its own. So instead of just talking about water shortage and the solutions at hand, an idea of creating a product made from sewage water started to grow.
The team landed on creating a beer out of raw sewage water. Beer is a popular drink, but to make it you need a critical ingredient: clean water. The IVL water purification technique was the exact technology needed to make this happen. The beer was named PU:REST – reflecting the use of pure recycled water.
In Sweden, you are not allowed to advertise beer in traditional or social media, meaning we had to work exclusively with earned media, aimed at a target audience including the general public, politicians and decision makers.
PU:REST was produced by The New Carnegie Brewery in Stockholm, owned by Carlsberg Stockholm. On May 25th, PU:REST launched at a party held at brewery. Scientists from IVL spoke about the purification technique and water issues from a global perspective. Prior to the launch, extensive communicative actions were conducted. Swedish media received the news first, then PU:REST was shared internationally.
A short while after the launch party, attendees of “Smaka på Stockholm” (an annual, globally renowned food festival in the center of the city) were given the opportunity to taste PU:REST. During Miljöfesten (The Environmental Party), one of the most popular events in the annual “Politician’s Week” in Almedalen, politicians and influencers toasted with PU:REST while having a conversation about water conservation and purification. PU:REST continued to make a splash at a number of fairs and conferences as the roll-out continued.