The real price of water

Social experiment. Water crisis. Somalia.

In drought-affected Somalia, only 52 percent of the population has access to a basic water supply. Many water sources are drying up, forcing some children to walk up to 50km daily for water which is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases. Without access to clean water, the risk of contracting easily preventable diseases is high.

Working with UNICEF, we designed a hidden camera social experiment video as an innovative way to confront passers-by with the reality of water scarcity in Somalia, asking the question, ‘How far would you walk for water?’. The film script passed through numerous creative revisions, as we built in twists and surprises for both members of the public and the film’s audience.

What did we do?   Campaign strategy   •   Creative direction   •  Film production   •   Editing   •   Distribution

Only 52% of the population in Somalia have access to a basic water supply.


The public response to the experiment resulted in perfect footage. Unaware they were being filmed, many baulked at the idea of having to walk to pay for their water. A plucky few took up the challenge on a hot summer’s day in Brighton, UK. Once they had walked the amount of km on our treadmill, we captured their surprised reaction as they read the label informing them of the diseases the water might contain.

The final film was distributed on World Water Day across all of UNICEF’s country offices. This large-scale rollout had a huge impact, gaining 1 million views in the first 48hrs. After 1 month, The real price of water had 28 million views on Facebook. Later that year, the film won two Gold Awards in The Lovies 2018.


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