Millions of Americans take clean water for granted, but 771 million people around the world don’t have access to safe water.
Stella Artois wanted to raise awareness for this global crisis through a new campaign, “Give the Gift of Time,” created in partnership with Water.org. The Anheuser-Busch-owned beer brand has partnered with Water.org, which provides access to safe water to people in the developing world, since 2015.
The campaign kicked off with a short film, starring actor Matt Damon, cofounder of Water.org. Mother London created the film, which includes artwork by artist Em Cooper.
In the spot, Damon pours a Stella Artois beer into the brand’s 2021 limited-edition chalice. He drags some of the condensation onto the table, which turns into an animated watercolor painting of a woman carrying water. The painting transforms to show her town getting access to clean water, giving her more time to spend with friends and family.
“Spending time together is a gift, but women around the world spend hours a day away from home collecting water,” Damon says. “What if they didn’t have to?”
The spot ends with Damon explaining that each purchase of a Stella Artois limited-edition chalice will provide one person five years of safe water access. Additionally, for every Stella Artois product purchased, the brand will donate at least one month of safe water access to one person.
Stella Artois wanted the film to feel like “a piece of art” instead of an ad, said Tim Ovadia, global vice president at Stella Artois.
Cooper, who is an oil painter by trade, channeled that vision by using watercolors to create 60 different frames, which combined into the pace of the animated film.
“Give the Gift of Time” also includes an out of home component. Stella Artois took over the water tower at 149 Grand Street, located in the Soho neighborhood of New York City. A painting of a woman is located directly under the water tank, making it look like she is carrying it on her head.
“Women around the world walk hours a day for water, we have it on our roofs,” reads the tagline, which directs people to Water.org.
The campaign aims to compare how people in New York City have access to safe water through an estimated 15,000 water tanks across city rooftops. It’s an overlooked luxury that people in developing countries don’t have.
“We think that is a creative and impactful way of landing our message in the middle of the Soho shopping district at Christmas, and to get people to look up and have a moment of reflection on how lucky they are,” said Ovadia. “We believe that at this time of year, the best present is actually being present with someone, and, unfortunately, not everyone has that gift because of the hours spent every day collecting water.”