Monday, 18 January 2021

UN in your language

The keys to success

Jens AssurFerah PerkerWe were wondering-what is the key to success in such a competition?

Two of our Drop by Drop competiton jurors shared with us their opinions (A third, European Commissioner Connie Hedegaard answered separately our 3 Questions to…)

Jens Assur, one of Scandinavia´s best known photographers is one of seven jurors. He is known for his work development issues such as "Hunger" a book series published in 2010. While Assur is from Sweden, another juror, the graphic designer Ferah Perker, comes from a different part of Europe: Turkey. While Assur is a photographer/film director; Perker has 19 years experience in graphic design and advertising and has worked as an art director for major network advertising agencies and clients in Turkey.

Their recommendations to the participants are the following:

Q: - What do you look for when judging such a competition?

Assur: “The first thing I would look at would be intellectual concepts that are unique, interesting and that gives me an idea of what I can do to be part of the change. The technical execution is secondary.”

Perker: "Water is the most essential element for survival along with air. I think it would be a good idea to build the advertisement on this basic/simple fact."

Assur: “Behind a successful advertisement there is always, from my point of view, an intellectual concept. A deeper, more reflecting and smart idea than great graphics, forms and layout. You need to do your homework thoroughly before the creative work starts. To create a reaction or to grab people's attention is fairly easy for a subject matter like this. We are all aware of the issue and problems regarding water but still few do anything about it. So I would say that a clear and effective call-to-action is the most important thing. You need people to act and not only react in order to create a change.”

Q: -Can advertising have an impact to raise awareness on global issues?

Perker: "Yes I definitely believe that advertisements can play an important role in raising such awareness.

But it seems to be much more difficult than creating a brand or creating an image for a brand.

Advertisement cannot use the same strategy as in a business to business or business to consumer style.

Social issues aim at changing behavior not at selling a product. If the intention is to "save the planet" or show respect to what our mother earth offers us generously, the individuals should realize that it is personally them that the ad addresses and more important than that they should sense that this call is quite sincere and frank.

The context is that on such global issues the addressees are not a certain privileged or educated group. The target audience might be from any level of education or nation or cultural background. This matter should be considered in the strategy of the advertisement."

Assur: “Yes! If done right they can change opinions, raise awareness and create change. However, the advertisement needs to be a part of an overall strategic message from the company, organization etc and work together with other marketing tools to create credible attention.”

Related Links:

cinema icon3 Questions to Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Member of the High-level Panel on Sustainable Development.


  • 97 % of earth’s water is in the oceans. Only 3 % of the earth’s water can be used as drinking water. 75 % of the world’s fresh water is frozen in the polar ice caps.

  • 884 million people still do not have access to safe drinking water. However, 1.7 billion have gained such access since 1990.

  • The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 6 kilometres.

  • 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines.

  • Each day 5,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diseases.

  • Average water use ranges from 200-300 litres a person a day in most countries in Europe to less than 10 litres in countries such as Mozambique

  • People living in the slums of Jakarta, Manila and Nairobi pay 5 to 10 times more for water than those living in high-income areas in those same cities and more than consumers in London or New York.

  • In Manila, the cost of connecting to the utility represents about three months' income for the poorest 20% of households, rising to six months' in urban Kenya.

  • In many places of the world, a staggering 30 to 40% of water or more goes unaccounted for due to water leakages in pipes and canals and illegal tapping.

  • The production of 1 kilogram of:
    o rice requires 3,000 litres of water
    o maize requires 900 litres of water
    o wheat requires 1,350 litres of water
    o beef requires 16,000 litres of water
  • Between now and 2025, it is expected that the world will need 17% more water to grow food for the increasing populations in developing countries and that total water use will increase by some 40%.


1st United Nations World Water Development Report 'Water for People, Water for Life' (WWDR1, 2003),
the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) publication "Global Population and Water: Access and Sustainability"
and NASA Earth Observatory’s The Water Cycle