Thames Water Adverts

By Rob Last edited 141 months ago
Thames Water Adverts

Have you seen these yet?

They're all over the Tube platforms and the carriages themselves and they show some famous London landmarks such as Battersea Power Station and the Tower of London....except they're filled with gallons and gallons of water, complete with sailboats and swimmers.

Next to the hastily photoshopped image are the words: Saving this much water over the next two years (or something similar). Because, you see, the adverts are for Thames Water and they want you to know that "Together we can beat this drought".

Are they taking the piss?

This is a company who, despite a 31% rise in profits, failed to met their leakage targets to such a degree that Ofwat looked into fining them (but forced them to spend an extra £150m on pipe replacement instead, a decision we're told has nothing to do with the fact that Ofwat's 'independent' auditor, Halcrow Management Science, also has Thames Water as one its main clients), and whose current target for 2010 is to reduce the 894 million litres per day they're losing to 'just' 720m litres per day.

How much did the Tube ads cost exactly? And for whose benefit are they?

If there's anyone reading from Thames Water we'd love you to get in touch and try to justify this PR crap.

Last Updated 24 July 2006


I don't like Thames Water either, but I do think Offwat got it right about the recent fine. Which is better - that Thames pay £150m into the government's coffers or are forced to spend it on fixing a problem that they're a large cause of? You're right about the poster campaign, though.

Paul Holloway

Harsh. Just because TW are useless doesn't mean that they shouldn't be telling people not to waste waster, especially when there's a drought.


Chris - I agree with you about the fine, but the fact that tehy're beign forced to spend more on leaks than they'd already put aside says a lot (and they're going to get fined anyway for their customer care).

And Paul - I don't think it is harsh - this is not a 'stop wasting water' campaign, it's a Thames Water damage limitation campaign. By all means sepnd money telling us not to run the tap when we brush our teeth or recycle water for ther garden etc - but photoshopped Power Station...I can't see the lesson there, can you?


I've seen a disproportionate number of these ads defaced on the tube. It really feels like the level of public dissatisfaction with being told they are using too much water when so much is being wasted is too high to make this campaign have the impact they probably want.


You do realise that the £150mill is counted under accounting rules as an investment, and thus boosts their valuation?

A fine would have hurt them - which is why they just decided to invest just half of one year's profits into a five year investment program that makes the company worth more.

Ofwat - because "Completely Fucking Useless" was too long


I hate those adverts, because when I'm waiting on the tube platform and about to melt from the hotter-than-Death-Valley temperatures down there, the thought of swimming around in the GLC building in scuba gear is so very, very tempting. It's cruel and unusual punishment to show those ads during a heatwave.

Also, screw Thames Water - profiteering and useless wastes of space that they are!


I'm more alarmed by the comment at the bottom of the posters, to the effect "We'll have it all sorted out by 2010". Well there's something for us all to look forward to...


Owen - no, I didn't realise that. Good point well made. It's nice to know I can hate them rationally.

For starters - why if I pay monthly by direct debit should I have to pay a year's bill in 9 months. No other company asks for this.


these ads are absolute crap. what do i care how much water they "save" i only care about how much more they should be saving. outside my house there was a leeking pipe last year that formed a massive puddle that stayed like that leeking for 3 weeks!
TW are incompetents and try to give themselves a good image with these poor ads. the more you say you're doing a great job the more i'd be suspicious about what you're saying... wouldn't you?
btw, did they brief 14 yo schoolboys to come up with these posters?