Getty Images Aims to Help People in Need of Clean Water With ‘Watermarks’ Initiative

Company teams up with charity: water and FCB Chicago

Headshot of Erik Oster

Getty Images is removing its iconic watermark to help people around the world who lack clean drinking water.

Getty Images created a “Watermarks for Water” collection featuring 300 photographs from top photographers that illustrate the hardships people without access to clean water face. Each time one of the images is licensed, the Getty Images watermark will be removed and 10 percent of proceeds will be donated to charity:water, an organization dedicated to providing clean drinking water to people in developing countries.

A campaign video, created in partnership with FCB Chicago, poses the question, “If you could unleash the power of photography, what would you have it do?” as a series of powerful images rushes across the screen. It then introduces Getty Image’s initiative, concluding with the line, “Changing the world is as simple as removing a watermark” and directing viewers to the campaign microsite.

“Water is one of the most essential elements in our lives, so on World Water Day this year, we’re kicking off a movement to help bring awareness to and raise funds for the global water crisis,” Getty Images chief operating officer Craig Peters said in a statement.

“One of the things that struck us the most when working with Getty Images on this campaign is that more people die from drinking impure water than from war,” said FCB Chicago chief creative officer Liz Taylor. “That insight led us to take one of Getty Images’ most recognizable assets—the watermark—and flip the idea on its head: What if, by removing watermarks, we could start a global movement to bring clean water to those around the world who lack it?”

Visitors to the “Watermarks for Water” microsite are given the option of licensing an image or sharing it on social media. When shared, the image retains its watermark but is accompanied by a fact about the world water crisis.

Getty Images is also devoting its first-ever homepage takeover to the cause today as well as hosting a “Watermarks for Water” exhibit in New York.

Lack of access to clean drinking water is an issue that recently received a spotlight on advertising’s biggest stage. David Miami’s Super Bowl spot for Budweiser focused on the brand’s donation of 3 million cans of water to disaster relief efforts in places like Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and California. Another AB InBev brand, Stella Artois, focused on its ongoing partnership with in its Super Bowl campaign from agency Mother and extended the effort with a “The Wait for Water” digital campaign created in partnership with VaynerMedia.


Client: Getty Images
Campaign: Watermarks for Water
Agency: FCB Chicago

FCB Chicago
Chief Creative Officer: Liz Taylor
Worldwide Creative Partner: Fred Levron
Executive Creative Director: Jon Flannery
Executive Creative Director: John Claxton
Executive Creative Director: Max Geraldo
Creative Directors: Bruno Mazzotti and Dean Paradise
Senior Copywriter: Kate Cullen
Senior Art Director: Franki Geib
Executive Creative Producer: John Bleeden
Senior Producer: Carolina Sierralta
VP, Management Director: Kathryn Horsley
SVP, Print Production: Julie Regimand
Project Manager: Matt Hartwig

Executive Vice President: Kim DeNapoli
Account Director: Katherine Fliess

Cutters NY
Editor: Nadav Kurtz
Assistant Editor: Peter Zachwieja
EP: Elizabeth Krajewski
Producer: Stephanie Rose

Cutters Chicago
Editor: Matt Walsh
Assistant Editor: Jackie Cohen
Producer: Heather Richardson

Flavor Chicago
EP: Neal Cohen
Finishing Artist: Chris Elliott
Senior Designer: Colby Capes
Color: Brian Higgins

Lord & Thomas
Audio Manager: Jason Ryan
Audio Engineer: Alec Chojnacki
Associate Audio Engineer: Batsirayi Zesaguli
Audio Producer: Alex Bartczak

President: Virginia Devlin
SVP, Integrated Media: Kate Knox
Associate, Media Relations: Mackenzie Woods

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.