Water for Africa takes part in the Paris Marathon

Water for Africa takes part in the Paris Marathon

The Background

We thought it would be interesting to dig around the archives of the award shows and less mainstream areas to highlight work that others may not have spotted the first time around.

So this series is dedicated to looking at work that appeared either in markets elsewhere around the world, but didn’t quite manage to “go global”, or to work that was simply overlooked by the marketing community at large.

Either way, although they may not have made the headlines, the creative is worth talking about and we want to make sure it is seen and heard.

This time around, we look at the wonderful Marathon Walker.

The Big Idea

Whilst working on a campaign for the charity Water for Africa, someone alighted upon the fact that women in African villages have to walk a marathon daily just to get clean water – and that they make the return trek carrying litres of the stuff – the central pillar of a campaign.

Which led to the activation in question…

What They Did

Water for Africa invited one of these women to take part in the Paris Marathon as a fundraiser.

And whilst runners jogged past her, literally showering themselves from plastic bottles of spring water brands, she carried a tank of the stuff the full 26 miles around the course – an experience that differed little from her normal daily routine.

The story went around the world.

The Review

This is just one of those moments when a stunning insight is turned into a beautiful creative activation that captured international attention. 

It’s one of those ideas that could have come from anywhere – any creative thinker might have arrived at it.  
It’s just so bloody obvious. 

But it’s only just so bloody obvious when someone does it. It’s a proper “I wish I’d thought of that” moment.

In Hindsight


No hindsight. 

Nothing to add. 

This is a brilliant idea which was, in turn, perfectly executed. 

You can keep your McWhoppers and your Dream Crazy, this remains one of my favourite campaigns of all time bar none.

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