Aug 13, 2013

DDB, WATERisLIFE Launch Kenya Bucket List Campaign

Campaign shows the effects of unsafe drinking water in areas of sub-Saharan Africa

DDB New York Kenya Bucket List Campaign

DDB New York and WATERisLIFE have launched a campaign titled, "Kenya Bucket List," for which a film crew travelled to Kenya to take a four-year-old Maasai boy named Nkaitole (pronounced "Guytolie"), who has never been outside of his remote African village, on an adventure to do all of the things he has always wanted to do before he dies. In sub-Saharan Africa, where he lives, unsafe drinking water is one of the main causes that prevents one in five children from reaching their fifth birthday.

The Bucket List is a term popularized by the Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson film of the same name. By creating a campaign around this phrase, WATERisLIFE has again used pop culture as an integral part of its marketing communication. It follows on the heels of last year's successful "Hashtag Killer" campaign, in which the organization attempted to eliminate the popular #FirstWorldProblems hashtag by traveling to Haiti and filming locals as they read tweets back to their original authors. 

The campaign is centered around a two-minute film that documents Nkaitole's bucket list from start to finish. In it, the viewer watches him (along with his Uncle Joel) traveling across Kenya, experiencing things like getting his first kiss, seeing the ocean for the first time, playing soccer in the national stadium (his personal favorite), flying in a hot air balloon, learning to ice skate and trying ice cream. The film compiles all of these experiences to help drive home the message that this little boy might not reach his fifth birthday unless he - and other children of sub-Saharan Africa - receive help.

"This campaign gives a face to the millions of young African children who will not live to see their fifth birthday," said Matt Eastwood, chief creative officer of DDB New York. "We hope that by sharing this one child's experience, we can help raise enough money to provide Nkaitole and thousands of other children with clean water and the chance at a long and healthy life."

The campaign will be launched with the help of WATERisLIFE's social channels, with messaging that includes the #5YearsToLive hashtag on Twitter, a series of video clips in which American children recite their bucket lists on Facebook, and a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the campaign through photos and videos on Instagram. More traditional elements include a series of print ads, each of which will highlight individual bucket list experiences, as well as radio ads, which will roll out at a later date.

The focus of the campaign is to shed light on the hardships of children in underprivileged societies, as well as to provide them with direct help. "Like our previous campaigns, we'll direct donations from this video to help those who actually appear in it," said Kristine Bender, executive director of WATERisLIFE. "Nkaitole's village, as well as many other Maasai villages like his, will be able to receive clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene education as a result of this effort."

DDB New York and WATERisLIFE had separate fundraisers to raise money to produce the Bucket List campaign. This installment marks the second campaign for WATERisLIFE since it partnered with DDB New York in early 2012. Each campaign has been more successful than the last, with donations increasing by more than 500% since this partnership began.

To learn more about WATERisLIFE, visit