The Norwegian Directorate for civil protection (DSB) is responsible for a complete overview of various risks and vulnerabilities in Norway. In collaboration with the Armed Forces, the Fire Service, the police, and health service, they provide our society’s security and plan for any crises that may occur. In the autumn of 2019, they were to communicate the need for self- preparedness in the population, focusing particularly on water.
The authorities have for long been urging everyone to store 9 litres of water per person. This is enough for three days of drinking and cooking if the water in the tap is lost or contaminated. Still, many people have no emergency water at home.
Being long before the pandemic, everyone had a feeling that living in Norway was safe and protected. But even here we should be prepared for rough weather, major incidents, and attacks to hit us as well.
So, what at worst are the consequences of a lack of self-preparedness – and lack of water in particular? And how could we talk about it without scaring people? Because the last thing the client wants is to contribute to creating fear or mass-hysteria.
We decided to expose people to the worst-case-scenario: If you fail to store any emergency water at all, you’re stuck with whatever you have at home at that given time. But one of the few places where there will always be at least some water is in the toilet cistern.
So, to create awareness and to get people to react to water storage, we developed the coffee shop “Sisterna Taverna” – a café looking like a 1990’s bathroom. At this café, all was made and brewed by water tapped directly from on-site toilet cisterns. The water was boiled and therefore safe – but was this something people would like to drink?
The Sisterna Taverna was constructed on-site and was an actual functioning pop-up café at one of Oslo’s largest shopping centers for almost a week. We created a visual prole for the shop, complete with custom cups, stickers, and uniforms. The café even had custom-made bar-stools constructed from old toilet seats.
We hired and trained staff to be – first and foremost – café workers, but also trustworthy bearers of the message, being able to answer all questions the audience might have around water storage and self-preparedness.
Being the main element of the campaign, we of course documented the Sisterna Taverna on film so that we could spread the content to the rest of the population. We also invited media and other stakeholders to visit the café. We also produced a series of informational content films to support the Sisterna Taverna. Here we had various experts put an end to the most widespread myths and misconceptions around storing water.
The Sisterna Taverna attracted the attention we were hoping for, particularly in the media. Among others, the second largest radio show, “Norgesglasset”, devoted an entire broadcast to the theme and sent directly from the café – and one of the largest newspapers in Norway, Dagbladet, had both a webTV-segment from the café, as well as feature articles for online and print.
The café in itself was visited by hundreds of people during the days it was present, and the film from the event was seen by more than 1 million people. Also, the informational content video experienced very good traction among the population, being exposed to over 1,8 million and almost 950 000 people watched at least one of the videos.
The campaign lead to a significant increase in how the number of people in the population that are aware of the Governmental advice for self-preparedness, from 65% to 71%. Also, post-tests show that as much as 51% of the population had read, seen, or heard recommendations for self- preparedness during the campaign period.