The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority has had image problems over the years. The worst was the lead in the water back in 2004. The lead spike went away but the questions didn't.
"Is the water safe to drink?" raged councilman Jim Graham just two years ago. Even today, residents like Jamal Brown are suspicious.
"I just moved here and I heard it was really bad, as far as what's in the tap water, so I don't drink it at all," he says.
Now the agency wants to change that with a new director, a new logo, and a new brand.
D.C. WASA is now DC WATER. It has a sleek new logo and slogan, "water is life." The mayor and mascot Wendy the Water Droplet were all on hand as director George Hawkins unveiled the agency's new image.
"The question we have is whether we're connecting to the customers and the consumers who rely on us every day in a way that they understand why we matter to them," says Hawkins.
The agency is clearly hoping the new image will move it beyond its troubles with lead.
"It'll take a while, it's all a mind game - even though the water is safe to drink," says Sema Essien, who works a pumping station.
But Hawkins says it's more than that. If he can get customers to think of water as a precious resource, and D.C. Water as partner in protecting it, he can shift the conversation to what a water authority should be talking about" conservation, stormwater management, and the host of other water issues facing the city.
Robert Swanson revolutionized American advertising and wrote some of the most memorable ad jingles of the 1950s and '60s for products ranging from Campbell's Soup to Pall Mall cigarettes. He died at 95 July 17 at his home in Phoenix, Ariz.
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