Tappening Gets Political

NEW YORK DiMassimo Goldstein’s “Tappening” campaign, the New York agency’s nine-month effort to encourage people to drink tap water rather than its bottled equivalent, takes a political turn this week with new ads that proclaim both presidential candidates have “a drinking problem,” which is revealed to be: “Bottled water.”

The new ads, which begin running in swing states in October, kick off the agency’s second national campaign directing consumers to Tappening.com. They feature silhouettes of John McCain and Barack Obama drinking bottled water. “The candidates will focus on key environmental issues,” reads the copy on one ad showing both nominees. “Bottled water should be one of them.”

The effort, said creative director Mark DiMassimo, is an attempt to get the issue of bottled water into the political conversations leading up to the November election.

DiMassimo, who created the Tappening effort last year in a joint venture with Eric Yaverbaum of PR firm Ericho Communications, said the co-founders were prompted to bring the presidential candidates into debate when they saw how often they appeared in the media holding bottles of water.

“Here you are watching these two most interesting, most honored, most maligned people in the country — then they reach for a single-use bottle of water and the cameras click and that bugged us,” said DiMassimo. “It’s just as easy to pick up a Dixie cup of tap water. Someone is putting something in these guys’ hands. We want them to put anything [there] but a single-use bottle of water.”

The series begins running in community newspapers in key swing-state markets next month and will also be distributed online and via wild postings.

With a limited media budget of about $500,000, DiMassimo said the potentially controversial ads would help the brand amplify its message and get the issue in front of influencers. “It’s not going to get on the agenda between now and the election without someone making a provocative move,” he said.