Marketing That Also Solves a Real-Life Problem

The University of Engineering and Technology in Peru and MAYO-DRAFT FCB have constructed an advertising billboard that converts moisture from humid desert air into drinkable water.


The city of Lima doesn’t usually get much in the way of rainfall, but can suffer from humidity as high as 98%. The UTEC/MAYO collaboration has come up with a novel way to help local residents who are only able to get drinking water from often polluted wells, while also generating interest in the study of engineering at the university, where admissions are due to start on March 3.

Located in the Bujama District near Lima along the Pan-American Highway, the billboard was strategically placed on the way to the beach during the summer season from December 2012 through February 2013 to generate maximum exposure and attract young adults headed to the shore.

Though the billboard concept seems deceptively simple, there’s hard science working in the background. The billboard counts on unique technology that captures the air humidity and turns it into drinking water. “Five generators capture the air humidity, through an inverse osmosis system, producing purified water, and they are able to store up to 100 liters per day.” In the few months the billboard’s been operational it’s already produced more than 9,000 liters of water for families in Bujama and in neighboring towns.

Following the campaign, enrollment at UTEC increased by 28%, and a video about the project posted on YouTube brought in more than 300,000 views in less than two weeks. But the results are about more than the hard metrics, Aponte says.

Why Am I Curious?

This is a great way to infuse technology into more traditional and analog mediums, and in this case a particularly good fit for the message. I wonder if it is possible to “digitize” OOH advertising that is somewhat mundane and old school and make it for exciting for our clients similar to the way UTEC did to convey their message. 


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