During the height of the California water drought, the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) tasked Ark Marketing with developing and implementing a market-wide media plan to support their When in Drought campaign, to inform and educate San Diego County residents on drought conditions and encourage people to make changes in their water use habits.


Ark Marketing created an integrated media plan to effectively reach both English and Spanish speaking households throughout San Diego County. In order to maximize the budget and increase added value and frequency, Ark Marketing formed media partnerships with key TV and Radio stations. In addition to spot schedules, these partnerships included Conservation Tip vignettes featuring local news personalities, on-air interviews with SDCWA spokespeople, a Padres ‘Saves’ tie-in with pitcher Craig Kimbrell, and multiple digital touchpoints on the station web, mobile and social media sites.

Ark Marketing also implemented a robust, multi-platform digital and social media campaign to drive traffic to the When in Drought website and to increase SDCWA’s social media followers. This portion of the campaign included PPC, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube/TrueView, Pandora, Content marketing, and Prospecting and Retargeting Banner ads.


The campaign was scheduled to run from May 2015 – October 2015, however, the visibility and awareness of the campaign led San Diegans to exceed the State’s water-use reduction target of 20% by August 2015.

The number of SDCWA’s social media fans/followers more than doubled within four months.

In addition, the When in Drought media and outreach campaign played a large part in earning SDCWA the Statewide honor of “Best Water Program” among medium-sized water agencies by the California Municipal Utilities Association and the “Award of Excellence” and “Best of Show” from the Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego/ Imperial Counties Chapter.