Michelle Obama photo

Remarks by the First Lady at the "Drink Up" Campaign Launch at Watertown High School in Watertown, Wisconsin

September 12, 2013

MRS. OBAMA: Thank you, everyone. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Oh, what a warm welcome. Thank you. And thank you, guys. Rest yourselves. (Laughter.) We've got a lot of water partying to do here today.

Let me start by of course thanking Mitch for that very kind

Introduction, as well as the entire staff, the principal, the assistant principals, the team here at Watertown High School for letting us interrupt your school day for a visit that you all have been so warm and welcoming. It's just been amazing. Thank you so much.

I also want to thank the mayor of Watertown, Mayor David, who is a very sweet man. And my staff got a big kick out of realizing that he thought this was all a joke. (Laughter.) But it is just a treat for us to be here. We couldn't have picked a better place to make such a huge announcement like this one, because not only is the name of this town on message, but I heard that just a couple years ago, you all won the award for the best tasting water in the state of Wisconsin, which is -- way to go.

So when it comes to water, you all know a little bit about what you're doing, and I just want to again thank you for hosting us here today. It feels really good to be here.

I also want to thank Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who I got a chance to say hello to, and for joining us today. And of course, I want to recognize Larry from the Partnership for a Healthier America and all of the leaders sitting up here who have been working tirelessly to help PHA bring this groundbreaking water campaign to life.

That group includes Susan Whiting and Karen Watson from Nielsen. (Applause.) Yay! Yay! It's the Nielsen crew. They're a rowdy bunch, but they're good. They're good. (Laughter.) Scott Miller from Core Strategy Group, and everyone from Y&R and Buck Media who put together this sensational creative material. You guys are amazing.

And I also want to recognize Sergio Fernandez de Cordova of the PVBLIC Foundation; Sheldon Gilbert from Proclivity Media; and of course, my dear friend, the beautiful, talented, smart, Eva Longoria. Yeah, hi. (Applause.)

Now, I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who might be asking -- water? Really, water? What's the big deal? It's not new. It doesn't come in different colors or shapes. In fact, it doesn't even have a color or a shape. And to be honest with you, not long ago, I might have been thinking the same thing.

But since we started the Let's Move! initiative, I've been looking for as many ways as possible to help families and kids lead healthier lives. And I've come to realize that if we were going to take just one step to make ourselves and our families healthier, probably the single best thing we could do is to simply drink more water. It's as simple as that. Drink more water.

Drink just one more glass of water a day and you can make a real difference for your health, for your energy, and the way that you feel. And there's plenty of scientific evidence to back this up. For example, when we're properly hydrated, our bodies perform better than when we're even just a little bit dehydrated. Water gives us the focus we need in school and in our work. It gives athletes the fluids they need to excel on the playing field. And it can even help reduce headaches and fatigue, all while cleansing and refreshing our bodies. It's good stuff.

The truth is we all have a choice about what we drink. And when we choose water, we're choosing to be at our very best. And we don't even need science to tell us that that's a good idea. Most of us already know this from our own experience.

In fact, back when my girls were younger, and I decided that I wanted to improve the way my family was eating, one of the very first things I did was to make sure we were getting more water into diets. That was the very first thing I did. And soon enough, I saw how that one little change made all the difference in our lives -- to our girls, to me and Barack. We felt healthier, we felt more alert, and the more water we drank, the better we felt.

So we saw firsthand that water is truly the original energy drink. Plus, water is almost universally available. You can find it anywhere, and it's free. You can find it in schools, in parks, shopping malls, even in your own kitchen sink.

All over this country, you can turn on the faucet and get clean, safe, healthy water that tastes great. But here's the thing -- and something we hadn't thought about -- because water is so basic, because it is so plentiful, sometimes we just forget about it. Amidst all the ads that we watch on television and all the messages that we receive every day about what to eat and drink. The truth is water just gets drowned out. It's supposed to be funny. (Laughter.)

So we figured that we needed to get water back in the game. We needed to make sure that water is boosted by the same kind of passion and creativity, and innovative messaging that so many other products enjoy.

And that's why I am thrilled to be here today for the launch of the Drink Up campaign. As you have heard, it's a nationwide effort to inspire Americans to drink more water. We simply want everyone to know that we are what we drink, and when we drink water, we certainly drink up.

So I want to thank this incredible coalition of leaders who are on this stage with me. They are businesses and researchers, they're non-profit organizations, and so others who have come together to spread the message and do the right thing for kids and families across this country.

And we've got everybody up here. We've got representatives from tap water. We've got water filter companies. We've got the bottled water companies with us. It was like a who's who of water as I was meeting them today. It felt like I knew them personally -- Dasani and Aquafina. Everybody was there. It's like, I know you, I know you! I've drank you. (Laughter.) It's very empowering.

But we also have cutting-edge creative agencies with us, and some of the brightest minds in advertising and research.

We've got big-time media and internet companies working with us. We have talent people from all over, singers, and talk show hosts and movie stars and athletes who are joining this partnership. And we've got leaders from places like Chicago and Houston and Los Angeles County. And, as you heard from the Mayor, right here in Watertown they are signed up to lead the way in their communities.

So I want to thank everyone here today and all across this country. And I want you all to know how proud I am of this effort -- because we are poised, just with this campaign, to make a huge impact on the health of kids and families across this country.

So I want to once again have us all give another round of applause to all of our partners and to everyone on stage. Thank you all so much. (Applause.) And congratulations.

And to give you a sense of what all this work is amounting to, all together, the PSAs and posters and web ads that these folks have created will be seen an estimated one billion times on billboards and websites and city buses. The Drink Up logo right here will go on half a billion water bottles, including hundreds of thousands of packages of reusable water bottles.

And these organizations will be reaching out to a social media network of nearly 140 million followers and fans. So this isn't a drop in the bucket. (Laughter.) We're aiming to make a huge splash. (Laughter.) That was good. (Laughter.) See, a little laughter prompting helps.

And today is just the beginning of this effort. We are going to keep building this coalition. We are going to keep building this coalition. We're going to keep reaching out to new people and to new organizations and making the case for healthy choices like water, but also fruits and vegetables, which is -- you know me best for my fruits and vegetables, but you're going to know me for water as well.

For example, next week we're going to be hosting a discussion at the White House about how we can leverage the power of marketing to promote even more healthy options for kids. So we're going to keep on doing whatever we can to build momentum. But we need all of you to help us as well.

So I'm going to ask you to do two things. First, I want you to help us spread the word about this campaign. Businesses can put Drink Up logos on their menus and on their storefronts. Mayors, you guys can make your town a water town by putting up posters on bus stops and in public places. And everyone, as you've heard, can join this effort by visiting YouAreWhatYouDrink.org, or by using the hashtag #DrinkH20 dot -- no dots on that -- just #DrinkH20 on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. So that's an easy ask, right? So that's number one.

And my other ask is even simpler, and that is to just drink up. That's it. It doesn't matter where you get it from -- the tap, a water bottle, a water fountain -– just drink one more glass of water a day. And if we all do this -– if we all drink up -- we'll all feel better and we'll have more energy; we will have more focused students; we will have more productive workplaces; we will have more vibrant neighborhoods and a healthier country. In the end, that's what it's all about.

So to anyone still wondering what the deal is about water, I have two words for you, and that is: Drink up! And see for yourself.

Thank you all, and God bless. (Applause.) We're going to have some fun with some kids. We've got a water festival going on out there. Congratulations to this wonderful team. And, everybody, drink up. (Applause.) Thanks so much.

Michelle Obama, Remarks by the First Lady at the "Drink Up" Campaign Launch at Watertown High School in Watertown, Wisconsin Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/320137

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