Stella Artois and Water.org's Holiday Chalices Give Time Back to Women Around the World
There's a passage in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince where the Little Prince encounters a merchant who's made pills that quench thirst. The prince asks why, and the merchant says it saves something like 53 minutes a week, think what you could do with that time? Adorably, the prince says he'd use that time to walk slowly toward a spring.
This is what we thought about when we watched Stella Artois' "The Gift of Time." The ad stars Matt Damon, who pours beer into a chalice he's received as a gift, while using his stolid, reasonable voice to tell a story.
Magic pills that quench thirst aren't a thing. And the human body is about 60 percent water, so a lot of human time is spent in pursuit of water, moving closer to it, securing it, protecting it, and even—unfortunately—withholding its availability from others, intentionally or not.
There's something to be said about who has to spend time finding water to live and who doesn't. According to Stella (and Matt), women in developing countries collectively spend 200 million hours a day doing the former for their homes and families.
This holiday, funds from the purchase of limited-edition Stella Artois chalices will go to Water.org, so it can return this valuable time to women. Every glass provides one month of safe water access to a single person.
There's also this remarkable OOH work in New York City:
The aforementioned Little Prince recounts his story of the merchant to a pilot stranded in the desert. After eight days listening to similar adventures, the pilot runs out of water and becomes desperate and impatient. The prince suggests they look for a well together, and though that seems improbable, the pilot engages in this mission, ultimately finding a source of water, whose taste and improbability is so sweet that he associates it with receiving a Christmas gift.
There are qualities in this story that strike many chords in the Stella campaign. Like the prince, it can be hard for those who don't feel existentially threatened to relate to people who can't access the life-giving resources we easily enjoy. It can feel like an abstraction, or a waste of time solving a problem that doesn't exist. Per the allegory, what's 53 minutes in a week?
But when you think of how lost time can scale for people who can't just turn a clean tap, even minutes take on a different meaning. It adds up to large sums of lives. Water.org observes that lack of clean water access affects 785 million people around the world.
Stella Artois has worked in partnership with Water.org—co-founded by Matt Damon—since 2015. With its limited-edition holiday chalices, and supporting efforts like its "Buy a Lady a Drink" program, it's helped provide clean water access to over 3 million people to date.
"Stella Artois has always had the spirit of giving at its core," says Stella's U.S. head of marketing, Lauren Denowitz. "This holiday season, we are proud to give the gift of safe water to women around the world through our dedicated partnership with Water.org. When women don't have to spend time collecting water, they have more time to spend with loved ones and create a bright future."
"The Gift of Time" went live in the U.S., Canada and other markets around the world. The chalices will also be available for purchase in Brazil and Argentina.
A couple more (not-so) fun facts: Up to 60 percent of water in the U.S., Mexico and South America is threatened by overexploitation and pollution, often in relation to larger economic interests. Wealthy countries are not exempt from difficulty: More than two-thirds of U.S. residents live within 10 miles of polluted water sources.