As previously noted, Denver Water’s high-impact, multi-year “Use Only What You Need” marketing campaign is racking up achievements. According to a recent Denver Water press release, water use in 2007 was 20 percent lower than 2001 levels. The marketing means to this end are remarkable, to say the least. This summer’s ad campaign includes massive orange barrels at Belmar and the Denver Zoo representing wasted water, supermarket conveyer belts emblazoned with pictures of running rivers, a website chock full of video games and freebies and, most notably, a naked guy.
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Well, not completely naked. Denver Water’s on-the-street rep, recently popping up in Skyline Park, the Ballpark Flea Market and random city festivals, is sporting a signature bright orange sandwich board reading “Use only what you need,” skin-colored and skin-tight skivvies to suggest a birthday suit -- and nothing else. It’s certainly a conversation starter – and possibly so striking it may be having unintended consequences.
Two weeks ago, for example, the naked water guy was spotted hamming it up on a street corner during the Santa Fe Art District’s First Friday festivities. After enjoying the shenanigans, this reporter left the fellow where he was and popped into El Noa Noa for some grub. Then, a few minutes later, a loud crash was heard on the street. Stepping outside to investigate, I discovered a nasty car accident on the street corner where naked guy had hitherto been standing. The buff gentleman in question was nowhere to be found.
Did the naked man inspire the kerfuffle? Denver Water PR rep Stacy Chesney says she doesn’t think so, and has heard no reports of the naked guy causing this or any other disturbances. The naked guy is meant to inspire water conservation, she adds, not lead to accidents. Thank God for that, since all that spilled motor oil and other collision clutter would surely take a lot of water to clean up. – Joel Warner