PR News 2016 Diversity in PR Awards: Organization

Winner: Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Metropolitan prides itself on its leadership to promote and support the culturally-diverse communities, beliefs and values that comprise its own workforce and the entire Southern California region.

During the worst drought in state history, Metropolitan strengthened its public relations outreach and voice across all demographics by providing compelling and accurate information to increase water awareness, inspire conservation actions, and effect behavior change.

Using culturally focused outreach, creative traditional and social media, research-based advertising in five languages and the power of its diverse workforce to reinforce water-savings messages, Metropolitan’s efforts contributed to a 26% reduction in water use statewide in 2015.

Among the strategies to increase public awareness and promote water conservation were a $5.5 million multimedia advertising campaign featuring television, radio, outdoor and digital trans-created in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. With more than 1 million impressions delivered, the campaign was over-indexed for Hispanic and African American audiences and leveraged 60% in added value media components.

Tapping into community pride, the campaign’s creative message used bold graphics and called on Southern Californians to “Take a Turn” at saving water. Using social media and an aggressive online strategy, Metropolitan reached digitally-savvy millennials and culturally diverse audiences with unique approaches including streaming music channels on Pandora and Spanish-language Uforia, featuring water-themed songs timed for short showers and a #wateryoudoing hashtag campaign with leading environmental organizations.

Websites and conservation materials were produced in multiple languages. California’s drought attracted worldwide attention with media requests from throughout the United States, Japan, China, Iceland, Germany, Spain and Mexico.