Client – Partnership for a Healthier America

Markets – New York City

Timing – Launched June 13th 2014

Agencies/Vendors – VML, Y&R Advertising

Tech Word Cloud – Hydro-Touch Technology, Raspberry Pi, engagement, outdoor experience, public awareness

Using several different technologies, the Partnership for a Healthier America created a talking water fountain to encourage people to drink more water.


With 43% of Americans not drinking enough water, the Partnership for a Healthier America wanted to lead an initiative to encourage people to drink more water. They sought out to create an engagement vehicle to remind people that water is a great, healthy beverage.


The Partnership for a Healthier America leveraged several different technologies to make a water fountain that kept people wanting to keep drinking. They transformed the act of drinking into an electrical circuit, completed when a person drinks, and broken when a person pulls away. When the circuit is completed, water drinkers are entertained by prerecorded messages reminding them of the benefits of water and encouraging them to drink more.


Using a combination of Raspberry Pi, MakeyMakey, Arduino Micro-controller, a custom digital software and a human, they created Hydro-Touch Technology to turn the act of drinking water into an electrical circuit. A circuit was developed that started with the push of the fountain’s button and completed when the water hit the person’s mouth. That engaged the audio messages, which immediately stopped when the person stopped drinking and the circuit broke.


The creative concept and design for the campaign that heavily blended technology with creativity was headed by VML, in conjunction with branding agency, Y&R Advertising.


The Drink Up campaign has received requests to partner with events, universities, councils and fountain manufacturers to build and install more of the fountains across America. According to Nielsen Catalina Solutions, the successful online campaign by Drink Up triggered a 3% increase in sales of bottled water, which equates to almost $1 million. Not only did the fountain make an impression on the thousands who interacted with it, it also garnered significant media attention.