Have You Seen the Thirsty Boy?

By Matt Van Hoven 

Following yesterday’s post on about Meteorite’s “Dirty Water” campaign, our friend Paco sent me a link to this Euro campaign, which won two gold, one silver and a titanium Lion this year at Cannes. The agency responsible &#151 Mortierbrigade Brussel, Belgium.

To attract attention for the cause, a young boy dressed in shorts and a tank top could be seen running into prime time TV shows (live programs, with hosts) only to drink the water that sat in front of the hosts, or their guests. The boy chugged the water and ran off.


In three days, the boy had been on enough programs that a stir was created. In just six days, people donated the equivalent of $5.24 million dollars. Considering the relatively small size of Belgium, that’s no small feat.

The viral piece was meant to highlight the disparaging situation for the 1.1 billion people that don’t have clean water, and the fact a child dies every 15 seconds from a lack of clean water. The agency’s client ‘Music for Life’ and their partner, The Red Cross, did more for clean water in a week than anyone could have imagined.

More info on the whole thing after the jump.

“The yearly charity event ‘Music for Life’, organized by radio station Studio Brussels and the Red Cross, focused on drinkable water. Every 15 seconds a child dies due to a lack of drinkable water. Studio Brussels wanted to raise money to help. They started from the insight that every TV host has a glass of water. It’s so normal, that nobody even notices anymore. Until they started this guerrilla campaign. A black boy showed up on Flanders’ best watched station ‘één’ over three days, always in prime time. He quickly drank the host’s glass of water and then ran off. The most frequently asked question during these days was: ‘have you seen the thirsty black boy?’ The whole thing started to lead a life of its own on the internet and in other media. The only thing left to do, was claim the campaign. Music for Life turned out to be a giant success. In 6 days, people donated 3.3 million euro for drinkable water. A giant amount for a small country. Gold Direct, Gold, Silver Media Lions Winner and Titanium Lions Winner!”

Thanks to DirectDaily for the info.