President Clinton teams up with P&G and Smokey Water

P&G Children's Safe Drinking
President Clinton teams up with P&G and Smokey
Robinson at CGI 2012
Posted on September 24, 2012
Today we have very exciting news from the Clinton Global
Initiative. We’re going to partner with Smokey Robinson to
raise awareness and funds to help us continue to make
progress to scale-up the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water
Program to save one life every hour by providing 2 billion liters
of clean drinking water every year. This is our 7th year at the
Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a non-partisan event that brings
together world leaders to address big global issues like the
global water crisis. Every year has been a phenomenal
opportunity to announce new efforts to grow the P&G
Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program in order to help more
people in the developing world. This year is no exception and is probably the most exciting to date.
President Clinton also announced a new P&G partnership with music
legend Smokey Robinson, David Clark, and Crispin Porter Bogusky
called a “Smoke Alarm.” Smokey is gathering his celebrity friend’s
social media feeds into a global “Smoke Alarm” to raise awareness
and funds to address the global clean drinking water crisis. The goal
is to reach over 200 million people through Twitter and Facebook,
with funds raised going to the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water
program. The first Smoke Alarm will be issued in the coming months,
and Smokey’s friends like Elton John, Eva Longoria, James Franco
and Hilary Duff will re-tweet and re-post the alarm to their followers
The attached news release describes the effort (News Release) and
I’ll describe some of the back story to how this partnership
developed below. And, please take a minute to view the video that
Smokey recorded to announce the “Smoke Alarm”. (Video)
It was
thrilling to
efforts in
front of
leaders at
the opening
plenary of
the Clinton
Initiative in
New York. President Clinton asked Smokey Robinson on stage along with P&G CEO Bob McDonald and co-creator of
the “Smoke Alarm”, David Clark.
Also during the plenary session, President Clinton highlighted P&G’s progress towards our goal to Save One Life Every
Hour. We’ve now surpassed the 5 billion liter mark and this allowed us to complete two previous CGI commitments
including providing 4 billion liters from 2007-2012 and providing enough clean drinking water to reach 2 million people
in East Africa during the previous year.
President Clinton also mentioned our work in West Africa
where drought and famine are threatening the lives of millions
of children. To respond to this drought, P&G is working with
World Vision, Americares, GlobalMedic, and UPS Foundation
to provide enough clean water for 2 million people. We’re
responding in 7 countries – Chad, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania,
Niger, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. Already this has become
our largest response in the history of the CSDW Program with
plans in place to provide nearly 35 million water purification
Marc Pritchard, P&G’s Brand Building Officer, hosted a dinner
on behalf of P&G at CGI in which we updated our partners on
our progress towards our CGI commitment to save one life
every hour by 2020 by providing 2 billion liters of clean
drinking water every year. The dinner included a panel
discussion entitled “The Future of Social Investment through
the Eyes of Leading Humanitarian Organizations” featuring
Helen Gayle, President and CEO of CARE, Karl Hofmann,
President and CEO of PSI, and Carolyn Miles, President and
CEO of Save the Children. This lively panel was moderated by
Mark Kramer, the co-founder and Managing Director of FSG
Social Impact Advisors, and the author of influential
publications on shared value and catalytic philanthropy. Each
of the speakers highlighted how their organizations have embraced the need to work with corporations to help address
social issues including the global water crisis while supporting the need of business to demonstrate long-term benefits
from these investments. For P&G, we’re doing this by putting more of an emphasis on the unique value that our
products can provide in times of need– whether it’s responding with the P&G packets in West Africa or with Tide,
Crest, Pampers, Charmin, Gillette, and Duracell for Hurricane Isaac in New Orleans.
Part of the back-story to the “Smoke Alarm” effort is that President Clinton and his team played match-maker for this
effort. Smokey Robinson, David Clark, and Andrew Keller of Crispin Porter +Bogusky announced the creation of Smoke
Alarm at the Cannes Lions 2012 Festival. The “Smoke Alarm” announcement by Smokey occurred right before a
presentation by President Clinton and so President Clinton listened to the announcement, was impressed, and offered
his support to Smokey for the effort.
Smokey and the “Smoke Alarm” team asked President Clinton who they’d recommend for the implementation of the
first cause and told him they were leaning towards picking water as the first cause. Smokey explained that it’s critical
for them to work with a group that has a track record of delivering results. I was thrilled and honored to hear that P&G
had been recommended by President Clinton and his team because of our track record of proven results and our
innovative technology in the P&G water purification packets.
Just a few weeks ago, I was asked to meet with Smokey in Los Angeles to give him a briefing on our program.
Smokey’s music has a special place in the heart and soul of people like me who grew up near the beach in North
Carolina. The old Motown sounds including those written and recorded by Smokey and the Miracles are the basis for a
style of dance called “Shagging” that get me out of my seat and kickin sand as often as I can. “You really got a hold on
me”, “Tears of a Clown”, and “Cruisin” are just some of Smokey’s hits that I’ve danced to since my high school days.
During our meeting in LA, I showed Smokey how the P&G water purification
packets work. When the filthy water started to turn crystal clear, Smokey was
speechless. Then when he was able to speak, he said “Wow!” about 5 times.
This innovative technology is a real show stopper even among world icons
who have seen it all.
Smokey and I then had a
conversation about equality.
Smokey was friends with Martin
Luther King, Jr and other leaders of
the civil rights movement including
Rosa Parks. For him, the global
clean drinking water crisis is an
issue of equality. I told him that I
also believe this. Everyone
deserves clean drinking water –
period. And, innovations like the
P&G water packets make it simple
for us to help people even in far
remote areas so they can have the
same quality of water, using the
same ingredients that make our
water safe. For only pennies, we can provide clean drinking water to people in need.
I hope you’ll consider lending your own social media voice by
going to and signing up. Smokey will activate
the “Smoke Alarm” in the next few months and you’ll want to
be a part of it. You can watch the video that Smokey taped
during my trip to Los Angeles. He did the demonstration
himself because he believes this is critical to understanding
the impact our partnership will have.
Thank you to President Clinton, Smokey Robinson, and our
partners for making this another very memorable Clinton
Global Initiative.
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