Xylem - Take steps to solve water

Wanting to leverage their partnership with City Football Group to raise awareness and instil change in water issues around the world, Xylem teamed up with SPORTFIVE to create the 'Take Steps to Solve Water' campaign.

The campaign centred around two water related fitness challenges activated through a media partnership with Strava, as well as activations with Pep Guardiola.


Global water technology and services leader Xylem have partnered with City Football Group (CFG) since 2018, with the collaboration’s main aim to raise awareness for the Xylem brand and inspire change in the public perception of water challenges.

Operating as Xylem’s Global Partnership Marketing Agency, SPORTFIVE works closely within the partnership to help Xylem leverage the group's global platform.

In 2022, Xylem and SPORTFIVE sought to create a campaign which could raise awareness for water issues on a global scale, as well as driving measurable positive change through the actions of fans.


The ‘Take Steps to Solve Water’ campaign leveraged Manchester City’s men’s and women’s teams, as well as men’s head coach Pep Guardiola to create awareness through a series of emotive films. 

Wanting to not only raise awareness, but also break down a barrier which has left many people feeling that water issues are out of their control, the campaign housed two water related fitness challenges, activated through a partnership with fitness service, Strava. 

The first challenge, ‘Plogging with Pep’, launched on World Water Day and encouraged fans to ‘Plog’ (pick up litter whilst jogging), whilst the second challenge, ‘Walk For Water’, launched on Earth Day and asked fans to walk 6 km to draw attention to the fact that people in water-scarce countries walk on average 6km per day to access safe drinking water. 

These activities were further amplified through a digital and social media campaign, out of home advertising, in-person activations with influencer Ben Black and in-stadium LED advertising during Manchester City men’s and women’s matches.

Campaign Execution

  • Emotive films

    We created two emotive films: ‘Plogging With Pep’, starring Pep Guardiola and ‘Walk For Water’, with Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling and Joao Cancelo, which raised awareness for key water issues.

  • Strava partnership

    By partnering with Strava and launching two water related fitness challenges, we were able to host and track activity and engagement in the campaign, providing fans with a platform to implement and measure change.

  • Influencer collaboration

    The collaboration with Manchester City super fan and TikTok football influencer Ben Black furthered the campaign’s reach across social channels by activating the ‘Walk For Water’ campaign through a 6 km ball juggle.

  • OOH advertising

    Out of home advertising in the area around Etihad Stadium was also launched to help the campaign maximise reach and engagement with match going fans. This also played a key role in influencer social media activity.

  • In-stadium advertising

    Pitch side LED boards drove awareness for the campaign to audiences during both Manchester City men’s and women’s teams games, reaching both in stadium and large scale television audiences.


The ‘Take Steps to Solve Water’ campaign served as a crucial tool in Xylem’s role as global water technology and services leader, driving active change amongst key consumers. 

People from over 100 countries logged nearly one million hours taking part in our Strava challenges –equivalent to 110 years of positive change, with each hour and each step either raising awareness of water scarcity, or contributing towards a plog, and reducing the amount of litter polluting our rivers and oceans.

With over 25 million impressions on Strava, and a further 65 million impressions across the rest of the campaign, we brought the water crisis to the attention of the globe, inspiring action and support, and championing water issues to a worldwide audience.

In addition, over 18,000 individuals shared their data with both Xylem and Manchester City for future business contact.  


People from over 100 countries logged nearly one million hours taking part in our Strava challenges –equivalent to 110 years of positive change

  • + 0 K

    People signed up to complete a water challenge on Strava

  • + 0 K

    Hours of activity logged

  • + 0 M

    Total campaign impressions across all platforms

What's in it for you?

Some of the world’s biggest organisations, from almost every industry, rely on partnerships in sports to help grow their brand. Sport’s truly universal appeal, coupled with its ability to bring together people from all walks of life, make it the perfect platform for businesses to communicate through.

End-to-end activation 

Through building a partnership based on shared values, SPORTFIVE have helped Xylem and City Football Group craft a solution which has benefitted both parties. From identifying the partnership and helping to conceptualise its strategy, to activating, developing and bringing campaigns to life, our work has helped bring Xylem’s mission to the forefront for football fans around the globe. 

As the world’s leading global sports marketing agency, SPORTFIVE works alongside the biggest brands to activate their partnerships in sports. This has seen us help the likes of LEGO Group, KitKat, ASOS and Mitsubishi to create meaningful activations that resonate with their audience.

If you want to find out how we can help your organisation grow through sport, reach out to: [email protected]

Beyond the Match
The SPORTFIVE Magazine

What are you looking for?

Read Insights and Success Stories for specific sports

Back to Home

loading spinner