When it comes to branding a product, bottled water can be seen as a great level playing field. Sure – water can be sourced from different places and filtered in different ways, but it’s ultimately a product distinguished from its competitors solely by branding, advertising and packaging. Here are 4 great examples of how some clever marketing can turn some ordinary H₂O into a multi-million selling behemoth:
1 – Cloud Juice
King Island’s Cloud Juice has a very unique selling point. The product is essentially bottled rainwater that’s collected from a region in Australia that’s said to have some of the cleanest air in the world. King Island says that this clean air has a direct relationship with the quality of the water in its bottles.
The process is simple: there is a 400 square metre roof with gutters attached that run into collection tanks. It usually rains for 180 days of the year in King Island, so that gives the company the capacity to fill up 500,000 a year. They also polish every bottle by hand before it’s placed in its delivery box. As you would expect, the water isn’t cheap at more than £5 per bottle and can only be found in exclusive hotels and outlets. This is a superb example of a brand making the most of a USP and basing an entire product and every marketing message and communication around it, all with great success. The water tells a story and storytelling sells.
2 – Ethos Water
Ethos Water is a brand owned by Starbucks and it’s sold in Starbucks outlets. The mission of the brand is to spread awareness of the lack of access to water that children around the world have to endure every day. By buying Ethos, a donation is made to charities that help to improve access to clean water and has raised $6 million to help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs.
However, commentators have rightfully pointed out that only 5-10 cents from each bottle sold actually goes to the cause it promotes. Ethos Water is very much a for-profit company and it’s a clever brand that utilised a socially responsible slant to sell bottles. Being owned by Starbucks most certainly helps, but basing a product around the idea of social responsibility is nevertheless what got this venture off the ground in the first place. In today’s world, morals, however thin, sell.
3 – Glacéau Smartwater
What better way to get your brand noticed than a celebrity endorsement featuring an almost naked female actress? Not only this, but make claims that your water is somehow more intelligent than other brands because of the way it’s made?
The Coca-Cola owned brand says that Glacéau Smartwater is “Smart because it’s made that way” and is produced by adding electrolytes to vapour distilled water. If you’re thinking this all sounds ridiculous, you’d be correct. Its tagline of “Inspired by the Clouds” is true of every drop of water on the planet, but all of the above aspects as a whole make Glacéau Smartwater a brand to be reckoned with. It’s extremely powerful in convincing consumers that this is the water to buy if you’re smart and in the know. Even the website is an adventure.
4 – Déjà Blue
This is a lesson in how to create a no-frills brand that elevates itself above its competitors based on a name alone. It’s a brand that’s owned by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and is big on its green credentials, but above anything else markets itself on its “popular price”.
The only true differentiator is that it’s called Déjà Blue and that’s probably enough for you to choose it from the crowded convenience store chiller when placed with a choice between other more unimaginatively named alternatives. Admittedly though, I’d have a dilemma deciding between Déjà Blue and Cloud Juice.
Bonus: Vittel has turned to innovative packaging in a bid to stand out from the crowd. Check out its “refresh cap” in action: