Xylem: A Purpose Driven Partnership

Leveraging a global sports platform to raise awareness and effect behaviour change.

SPORTFIVE were briefed to identify the most relevant sport marketing platform and activation strategy to communicate Xylem’s sustainability ambition of elevating water as an environmental concern.

The Challenge

SPORTFIVE were set the challenge of identifying an appropriate rightsholder and package in the sporting industry, who would provide Xylem with a global reach and relevance within their sphere.

Alongside this, we set out to develop a strategy that delivers on brand awareness and a sustainability agenda, as well as delivering partnership activity, from ideation to execution and monitoring of results.

The Solution

SPORTFIVE recommended a partnership with City Football Group (CFG) based on the group’s ability to reach a mass audience in Xylem’s priority markets and demonstrable commitment to sustainability and technological innovation.

A rights package spanning Manchester City, Manchester City Women, New York City FC, and then later, with Mumbai City FC and Manchester City Head Coach Pep Guardiola, was identified, providing a unique global platform with multiple touch points in key markets.

SPORTFIVE managed an initial strategic planning process to define a partnership mission of “challenging water complacency amongst 1 billion people” from this objective a wider communication strategy was implemented.

The partnership launched with striking, sharable campaigns to generate awareness of global water issues and Xylem’s role in elevating water within the climate change agenda. Campaigns like Closer Than You Think & The End of Football, highlighted water challenges and depicted the reality of a world without water.

As the partnership matured, SPORTFIVE has actively supported Xylem’s evolving ambition to leverage the CFG platform to drive sustainability awareness and behaviour change. A refined evaluation framework, audience profile and campaign tactics were implemented as overall focus shifted from awareness to education and action.

In 2022 SPORTFIVE supported Xylem in negotiating a 4-year extension of the partnership with CFG and continues to manage the activation and delivery of all rights.

The Results


Views of Xylem awareness campaigns


'Interactions' with the Xylem brand worldwide


Increase in water action

The Campaigns so far

‘The End of Football’ campaign

Released on World Water Day, ‘The End of Football’ campaign aimed to educate football fans about the serious and growing water challenges facing our planet.

The campaign launched with an emotive short film, highlighting the severe water issues billions of people face around the world, before culminating in two ‘water challenges’, available to people all over the globe through the Strava platform.

'Closer Than You Think' Campaign

Using the latest technology, we projection-mapped the Manchester City changing rooms to show the changing face of the Earth under different water stresses. The initiative aimed to provide the players and audience with a shocking projection of the future and how every country on earth faces serious, and escalating, water issues even here in Manchester.

'Take Steps to Solve Water' Campaign

In the latest campaign, Xylem leverages Manchester City Manager and Xylem brand ambassador, Pep Guardiola, as a global philanthropist waking up to water challenges around the world and encouraging our audience to take action.

This campaign helped Xylem feature on the 2022 Laureus Sport for Good Index and win silver at the 2022 DMA Awards

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