28 May 2021

Respect the Throne receives a Highly Commended for 'Best COVID-19 Response'


Hunter Water's Respect the Throne campaign has received a Highly Commended at an annual awards night for creating genuine conversation and behavioural change on what can and can't be flushed down the toilet.

The campaign was nominated for 'Best COVID-19 Response' ahead of the 2021 Mumbrella CommsCon Awards in Sydney.

Respect the Throne responded to an immediate impact on our wastewater systems as an increasing number of fatbergs were removed from our treatment plants amid the outbreak of the global pandemic.

We went up against an illustrious group, which included Domino's Pizza, Mango Communications for McDonald's Australia, and eventual winners the Woolworths Group.


The infamous hoarding of toilet paper, tissues, wipes and paper towel amid the outbreak of COVID-19 had an immediate impact on Hunter Water’s wastewater systems as an increasing number of fatbergs were removed from our treatment plants.

With crowds bulldozing their way through supermarkets and stores, we stepped in to educate our customers on how to prevent unnecessary blockages.

A highly-successful Respect the Throne campaign was launched to explain that flushing the wrong items down the toilet could have a negative environmental and financial impact on individual residents, as well as our wastewater systems.

Flushing items other than toilet paper can cause blockages in residential sewer systems, pipes and our treatment plants, which can be expensive to repair.

Hunter Water’s wastewater systems are designed to treat degradable, or easily broken down, sewage.

Items such as tissues, baby wipes, paper towels and other sanitary products may block the system and should be bagged and binned, not flushed.

The positive impact of our Respect the Throne campaign, which aired on television, social media and print media from mid-May 2020, has led to Hunter Water’s nomination as a finalist for a one-off award, ‘Best COVID-19 Response’.

The nomination is part of the 2021 Mumbrella CommsCon Awards – an annual event that brings together leading PR and communications professionals and teams to celebrate the best of the best.

We will go up against an illustrious group, which includes Domino’s Pizza, Mango Communications for McDonald’s Australia, Merlin Entertainments Ltd, St John Ambulance Western Australia, and the Woolworths Group.

Hunter Water Executive Manager Customer Services, Keiran Smith, said Respect the Throne had created genuine conversation and behavioural change around a previously uninteresting topic.

“We’re honoured to be nominated for this award and I’m proud of our team’s work in conceptualising, developing and effectively executing the Respect the Throne campaign in just a six-week window.

“After one month of airing, Respect the Throne was the quickest and most recalled Hunter Water campaign message, with over 50 per cent of our customers surveyed having seen the campaign.

Prior to Respect the Throne, only 73 per cent of those surveyed knew what was okay to flush down the toilet. However, this grew by 20 per cent after the campaign, with the majority changing their behaviour on what they flush.”
Keiran Smith, Executive Manager Customer Services

The 2021 Mumbrella CommsCon Awards winners will be announced in Sydney on Thursday 27 May.