Water Works Advertising
The distinctly unique campaign of advertising which the East Bay Water Company of California inaugurated two years ago and which has proved so successful in its object of bringing the utility and its consumers into closer touch and more complete harmony, proves the contention of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING that a policy of frankness and openness with its patrons by the water company or water works always pays in the long run. The East Bay Company purchased its water works from its predecessor and one of the greatest liabilities of which it became possessed in so doing was a hostile public sentiment. Such a sentiment rarely exists without some foundation, so the new company set about to improve its system and to please its consumers. But in order to do this it became necessary to acquaint the consumer with the new policy under which the water supply was to be dispensed. The most logical way to do this was through a medium that would reach the greatest number of consumers as often as possible. And this medium was the daily press. So the company instituted the campaign through the medium of daily advertisements in the newspapers of the cities and towns supplied with water.
That the plan was successful is proved by the fact that after having issued some eighty advertisements in the first series at considerable expense the East Bay Company has just inaugurated a second campaign along similar lines and if anything upon an even more comprehensive scale.
The plan of using the newspapers in reaching the water works is by no means a new one. One company that has used much of this kind of publicity to good advantage is the Terre Haute, Ind., Water Works Company, of which genial Dow R. Gwinn is the manager. This company bears the reputation of being at harmony with its consumers and what would seem to prove that this is really the case is the fact that when it became necessary to raise its rates recently the opposition that so often develops in such cases failed to materialize.
Thus newspaper publicity brings the utility into closer touch with its consumers and establishes a feeling of mutual co-operation between the two which no other means can accomplish. This is brought about by the taking into its confidence by the utility of the public and the frank manner in which, through the wording of these ads, the company tells the consumers of its needs, its policies and its future plans of development. The public is made to understand the situation from the viewpoint of the water company and is shown the justice and fairness of its methods. This will conduce to a feeling of conciliation and friendliness that no other means can produce.
There are, however, other opportunities embraced in this policy of publicity besides the actual acquiring of the good will of the public. One of the most important of these is the chance afforded to bring to the attention of the consumer the matter of water conservation and the elimination of leakage and waste. As will be seen, the East Bay Company has taken full advantage of this opportunity in its advertisements, which are reproduced on another page of this issue, and has brought the necessity for care in the use of water forcibly home to the consumer in a way that can hardly escape his attention, and which will attain results no other method could accomplish.