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Interview with Julian Fisher about "What Lies Beneath" 3D art piece

BinIt Lord



How did Markettiers come up with this idea for “What Lies Beneath” for our Bin It campaign?


 We were briefed by the Thames Water marketing team on a number of winter campaigns, we were asked to come up with three ideas to support them. This particular one was for the Bin It Don’t Block it campaign, we sat down and came with a creative, not just for a story that would get additional radio interviews, but also to get some television interest. We wanted to create a visual aspect to the story, hence creating this 3D piece of street art. It would act like a vocal point for TV cameras and photographers for print. It will also allow us to expand the coverage beyond the discussion point to be more mindful what we put down our sinks or flush down our loos. 


Besides TV, photograph and print – do you think this piece has potential to go viral on Social?


Oh yes, because by doing this visual piece of street art, as you know social media is very visually driven. We’re actually filming the instillation, recording public reaction, so we can produce a one minute video we can send to websites. Hopefully it will attract people to share it across social to get the message out there to a much wider audience, than just conventional media. 


What is the storyline behind this amazing piece of art?


Well we were lucky to find an artist, who was able to capture what we were trying to achieve.  The storyline is about this hidden menace lurking under our streets, these giant fatbergs that people have seen from photos, but never from a 3D perspective. From above we walk across the streets every day, but we’re not really aware what goes on underneath them. Or the work Thames Water does to consciously try to reduce sewer blockages. Our brief to the artist was to peel back the streets of London, reveal the sewers below and in this case to show a sewer that’s blocked by an ugly fatberg.



 "...I think part of our message is to really connect people with the images they’ve all seen online, television and in the papers. This helps them realise that these are caused by people simply not being mindful of what we do with our household waste..."


Before you got this brief, were you aware of the fatbergs lurking around in our sewers?


I think anybody who lives and works in London are aware of them, you couldn’t miss that giant one that was found a couple of years ago. If you see it once, you will never forget it. I think part of our message is to really connect people with the images they’ve all seen online, television and in the papers. This helps them realise that these are caused by people simply not being mindful of what we do with our household waste.


As time goes on, do you think 3D and augmented reality will play a larger role in marketing campaigns?


I think it’s an interesting new tool to add to marketing. There is a danger with every new technological innovation it detracts from the story. At the heart of every campaign, whether it’s marketing or public relations, there always needs to be a strong message. And then it’s all about bringing it to life with the right technology, like in this case it’s a 3D art piece. With others it might be virtual reality, but it needs to be appropriate with the campaign you’re trying to launch and the audience you would like to reach.  It shouldn’t be the story; the technology should just help deliver the message.


During this particular brainstorm, besides the 3D art piece, did you come up with any other ideas?


Yes, because at the core of this story, what we were trying to do was establish, YES people are aware of fatbergs and YES people also know that it’s also caused by things that are flushed down the toilet. But they still end up doing it, so part of our story was to recommend a survey for the public in the Thames Water region. Which did what we expected it to do, that people were very aware of the problem, but I think four out of ten people admitted that even though they were aware of throwing the wrong things down the loo that causes fatbergs, they still do it because they either don’t know what to do with it or the message keeps coming through out of sight out of mind. So that was the other creative element, to get the public to tell us what we suspected. They know about the problem, they know they are contributing to it, but they are not actually changing habits and that helps us get our messaging across in all the supporting TV/Radio/Print interviews. We need the public to support Thames Water and change their habits to help reduce the problem. 


What sort of reaction are you hoping to get for “What Lies Beneath” in South Bank?


I’m hoping for a mixture of amusement, a little bit of surprise, but hopefully if it helps one person or hundreds of people change their activity and habits, then I believe it’s done its job.  We don’t want to shock people, but just remind people to be conscious of their actions.