My partner, Mark DiMassimo, and I founded the Tappening campaign in November of 2007. We're both marketing professionals, and we're both parents. We wanted to do something positive for the planet -- to do what we could to leave it in better shape for our kids, and for their kids. We were angry about what we perceived as the massive waste of fossil fuels and resulting pollution to the Earth caused by the bottled water industry. We were mad. and we have a combined 50 years of PR and advertising experience between us; we know what a difference we can make. Plus, we understand marketing and we watched as billions of marketing dollars created a huge industry that-for the most part-people just don't need. So, we concluded that this was one great way that we could make a difference by combining the power of our experience and shining a light on an industry that we felt needed far greater education. And we hoped that once people got educated that we may influence one small change in behavior that's not so hard to change.
It's ludicrous to think that we drink 41 billion gallons of bottled water a year that in many municipalities is no safer or even better tasting, et along "safer" than tap water. California alone tosses out three million plastic water bottles per day! Some simple math can show that if we skipped buying only one million of those bottles, we'd eliminate 18.3 tons of CO2 emissions.
The Tappening message immediately resonated with the public. When we lsunched the campaign and educational website (www.tappening.com) that features thousands of articles about the tap vs. bottled water debate, we decided that we'd self-fund the campaign by selling reusable water bottles on the site. The messages on the bottles were "Think Global, Drink Local:" and "What's Tappening?" We stocked what we thought would be one year's worth of bottles; they sold out (39,000 of them) in the first 36 hours of our launch! 'Good Morning America' cited the bottles as "one of the hottest products for 2008" on their New Years Day show. There have been just under 5 million pages views to date, scores of newspaper and broadcast features, from People magazine to forbes.com. We like to believe we've contributed to recent events -- like the decline of sales of bottled water reported in the 2nd quarter of 2008, and a recent Senate sub-committee hearing to study the facts about bottled water.
We've put every cent of our profits back into the cause, which brings us to our soon-to-be-launched, $500,000 advertising campaign. We're not making a political statement in favor of either candidate with our provocative new ad campaign. We just want to ensure that the bottled water issue-that already has the attention of US citizens and of Congress-continues to command it! We're doing this because these are the two most visible people in the world right now. We don't just want them to set a Tappening example, we need them to.
- Eric Yaverbaum
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