Cautious Michelle Obama's new cause: "Drink Up" water campaign. In Watertown, Wisc. today
Thu, 09/12/2013 - 7:55am
WASHINGTON—First Lady Michelle Obama travels to Watertown, Wisc. on Thursday to add drinking more water to her healthy living agenda. “Drink Up” is the slogan of the splashy campaign Mrs. Obama launches in the aptly named city, where she will be joined by actress Eva Longoria, who was an Obama presidential campaign co-chair. Mrs. Obama also taped messages about drinking more water for 12 television talk shows, part of a Thursday media blitz. Watertown, about 140 miles north of Chicago, is between Milwaukee and Madison and the town was picked because of the name, said Sam Kass, the Chicago chef who now is the executive director of “Let’s Move.” Water is our “original energy drink,” Kass told reporters at a Wednesday briefing. “…Drinking more water,” he said, “is the best and easiest choice we can make everyday.” Kass was asked about Mrs. Obama’s own water drinking habits and revealed she drinks “from morning ‘til night.” The water campaign is organized through the Partnership for a Healthier America, the non-profit Mrs. Obama helped create to house many of the activities associated with “Let’s Move,” her signature healthy eating and anti-childhood obesity cause. Chicago will be among the cities using the Partnership’s advertising and marketing materials to encourage more people to “Drink Up.” Mrs. Obama remains very cautious in any public cause she embraces and in the matter of water, she will promote the no-calorie drink in all of its free or paid forms—from the tap, a water fountain, bottled, or filtered. Kass and Larry Soler, the CEO of the partnership stressed through the briefing that the water campaign will be upbeat. “We are going to keep it positive from start to finish," Kass said. There is a potential controversy brewing—one noted in Wisconsin papers this week. Though there are at least 10 places in the U.S. named “Watertown,” Mrs. Obama’s team picked the one with two soft drink companies, Wis-Pak, which makes Pepsi-Cola drinks and the 7-Up Bottling Co. Non-profit organizations and the water industry are heavily involved in backing Mrs. Obama’s water promotion: The American Beverage Association and International Bottled Water Association and BRITA, Aquafina, BEVERLY HILLS 9OH2O, DASANI, EVIAN Natural Spring Water, Hint, Voss, WAT-AAH!, and Nestlé Waters brands (North America’s Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Nestlé Pure Life, Ozarka, Poland Spring, resource and Zephyrhills) will be, according to the White House, “promoting the Drink Up message on products, through public events, via digital, print, social and out of home media efforts and other publicity.” Young & Rubicam, Buck, Antfood, Nielsen, Proclivity Media, VML, and Core Strategies handled research, marketing, messaging and advertising for the water drive.