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Ethiopians Pose for First (and Maybe Last) Family Portraits in Beautiful Clean Water Ads


Every 20 seconds, a family in Sub-Saharan Africa loses a loved one to unsafe drinking water. Deutsch took that brutal fact and made a gorgeous, bittersweet campaign for the Water Is Life charity—getting Ethiopians to pose for their first family portraits, which could also be their last.

Award-winning photographer Neil DaCosta took the photos. The print ads, each with a call to action, will run in Bloomberg, The Economist and Forbes, among other magazines.

"Most people go into these rural areas of Ethiopia, snap a picture of the tribes and then leave," said Water Is Life president Kristine Bender. "This is the first time anyone has physically printed, framed and given them a family portrait. You could see the gratitude on their faces. Knowing we are making a difference by capturing an important moment in their life, the project's goal isn't just to give family portraits, it's to keep these families alive."

More images and credits below.

The portraits—click to enlarge:

The print ads—click to enlarge:

Client: Water Is Life
President: Kristine Bender
Email: kristine@waterislife.com
Agency: Deutsch New York
Chief Creative Officer: Kerry Keenan
Executive Creative Director: Menno Kluin
Creative Directors: Sam Shepherd, Frank Cartagena, Julia Neumann
Art Director: Brittany Rivera
Copywriter: Kevin Meagher
Photographer: Neil DaCosta
Design Director: Juan Carlos Pagan
Designer: Brian Gartside
Retoucher: James Cullinane
Director of Integrated Media: Karen Benson
Director of Integrated Production: Joe Calabrese
Director of Digital Production: Suzanne Molinaro
Asst. Digital Producer: Libby Carespodi
Print Producer: Donald Odell
Producer: Joe Pernice
Post Producer: Francess Tom-­‐Sahr
Senior Editor: Eric Grush
Editor: Pete Slife, Marcus Land
Digital Designer: Alex Miller
Developer: Shane Akins

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