PHA’s Drink Up Initiative

The Challenge
Drink Up is an initiative aimed at encouraging more people to drink more water more often and is a collaboration between the Partnership for a Healthier America (the private sector arm of Michele Obama’s Let’s Move!) and stakeholders across the private and public sectors (such as Aquafina, Brita, Nalgene, Nielsen, S’well and many others). Their motto? You are what you drink — and when you drink water, you drink UP.

While Drink Up’s mission was clear, its brand was not. Water, and the act of drinking it, is admittedly a dry (no pun intended) subject matter — so PHA came to us with the challenge of “branding” water in the social sphere to make it interesting, engaging and even funny. Our charge: Take the established Drink Up branded social profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) to the next level by increase the variety and creativity of content (including more original video and graphics) and freshening the brand voice with a dose of cultural relevancy. In the end, our goals are not only to increase fans, followers and engagement but also help lift incremental water sales across the country.

The Solution
First, we defined the brand voice and aesthetic — as well as our content targeting strategies — in a social media playbook that mapped the way for our content and paid social strategy. Based on this, we implemented a more planned, programmatic approach to content to ensure we were using water to tap (get it?!) into popular ongoing conversations and demonstrate that water is anything but boring. In addition to a regular editorial calendar with recurring, culturally based forms of content, we also managed two specific social media campaigns to jump start our followings and engagement rates — and supported all of it with targeted ad dollars.

Ongoing Content: Overview
Our content generally falls into one of several buckets: Pop Culture (memes; awareness days and holidays; TV, music, movies and celebrities; and trending topics), Healthy Humor (ongoing series such as #h2ofcourse poke fun at thirst-induced situations), and Giveaways & Campaigns (including giveaways of partner swag and partner events and promotions).

Paid Social
We began supporting Drink Up’s social presence with paid social campaigns to increase reach of both its pages and content. Based on the initiative’s target audiences (“Well Beings” and “Fence Sitters”), we honed our targeting by demographics, interests and behaviors.

#DrinkUpAshanti: Overview
This campaign, in partnership with hip-hop artist Ashanti, took a virtual look at the impact of dehydration with the release of a new single and music video, “Let’s Go.” Released in phases of “hydration” (including missing vocal tracks, video colors, and more), new versions of the video were released as more social media fans used the #DrinkUpAshanti hashtag, thereby providing virtual “drops” of water to hydrate the song until its final, full release.

To showcase two of Drink Up’s brand partners, encourage engagement and add a hydrated spin to the typical new year’s resolution chatter, we launched a month-long #MissionH2O campaign asking fans to share what they hoped to accomplish in the new year with a little help from hydration. Each day, we selected a random winner to receive a Nalgene or S’well water bottle or a Soul Cycle three-class pack. In addition to our own #MisshionH2O content, we supported the campaign with a paid blogger network and social ads to drive awareness and incentive engagement.

We’re being measured against three primary key performance indicators: our ability to establish a distinct brand voice, grow the Drink Up social media audiences and increase engagement and reach.

Since implementing our strategy, the @URH2O social handles have a decidedly cohesive look and voice, with an emphasis on simple, emoji-inspired graphics, pop culture references and water puns.

We’ve been asked to reach 90,000 Facebook fans, 5,000 Twitter followers and 2,000 Instagram followers by June 2016. As of March 2016 — six months into our engagement — we’ve seen a 13.8% increase in Facebook fans (at nearly 71,000 from 63,000), a 13.3% increase in Twitter followers (at almost 3,000 from 2,500) and an 83% increase in Instagram followers (at 1,600 from 880).

Overall, we’re seeing a steady incline in post likes, comments and shares as well as click through rates. Our #DrinkUpAshanti campaign specifically lead to some impressive engagement and reach, including:

  • 43,848 mentions of the campaign hashtag with an overall reach of 172 million on Twitter and Instagram
  • Impressions for @URH2O increased by 329% on Twitter and 313% on Facebook
  • Follower and fan growth grew by 62% on Twitter and 248% on Facebook
  • Engagement increased by 2,665% on Twitter and 2,461% on Instagram


  • 389 total “entries” shares during campaign period
  • 5,614 engagements linked to influencer content
  • 45% average results rate across social advertising campaigns
  • 338,156 average impressions across social advertising campaigns
  • Up to 399 new followers earned in one day