Icelandic Glacial Delivered To Your Home, With The Daily News

Icelandic Glacial bottleBevWire recently read about Icelandic Glacial’s expanded distribution network: a home delivery partnership with the LA Times and Sun Sentinel to deliver water along with their newspapers.  It’s an interesting partnership to say the least – piggyback on the news delivery trucks and save on carbon footprint.  However, with actual hard copy readership on the decline and digital editions on the rise, is this a sustainable business model?  There’s also a variety of other questions, like responsibility for product breakage or damage en route for delivery.  Or how about how payment is collected? And what about whether the delivery trucks will need to be re-fitted to store the beverages on the delivery trucks?

Having reached out to Icelandic Glacial’s PR team, their forwarded press release provided some details into this business arrangement.  Icelandic Glacial will be utilizing the current newspaper delivery infrastructure, making use of truck space and delivery routes.  This means that any customers receiving their news through these newspaper delivery trucks will have the opportunity to purchase the bottled water as well.  Icelandic Glacial will also leverage on the newsprint media company’s customer service system, indicating that payment may go directly to LA Times or Sun Sentinel first and then remitted to Icelandic Glacial.  Given that the payment and delivery trucks are borrowed assets for Icelandic Glacial, it would appear that any damaged product during delivery may be under the LA Times or Sun Sentinel’s responsibility.  At the end of the day, this will still come back to Icelandic Glacial –  it just means that they will be reimbursing the damaged product that the newspaper company may have to pay to the end consumer.

In spite of where responsibilities rest – beverage company or newsprint organization – the main question still remains whether this business model is good idea and sustainable.  Given that readership is on the decline, this should be seen as a win-win for both parties as perception shows they are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.  For Icelandic Glacial, this opens up additional distribution and translates to a larger customer base.  Being able to promote your product through a trusted media source is helpful as well.  For LA Times and Sun Sentinel, this is an opportunity to offer hard copy readers an incremental benefit as well as open up a new revenue stream.  Fewer readers translates to more delivery truck space, which can now be filled to deliver bottled water along with the news.  And from the reader’s perspective, getting newspaper along with a refreshing bottle of water is  just added convenience.

This is a good idea but may also represent a short to medium term solution for LA Times and Sun Sentinel.  Consumers can already get their news online or on their phones, so delivery trucks will eventually have more room for bottled water or other products aside from newspapers.  The longer term solution may require transforming the entire business model to focus on the “distribution” aspect, leverage the customer base and provide a wider assortment of products to the end consumer.  Beyond newspaper and bottled water, other alternatives may include coffee, fruit, and grocery items.

Time will tell but it’s likely that this is the start of many partnerships for newspaper companies to stay relevant and remain profitable.

Diane von Furstenberg designs 2013 evian Bottle

As with every year since 2008, premium bottled-water manufacturer evian has selected a fashion designer to come up with a limited edition design for their glass bottle.  Click here to read about the 2012 design by Andre Courreges.  This year’s designer is Diane von Furstenberg.  This also marks the first year that evian has used an American designer.  von Furstenberg is also the first female designer chosen by evian, but I don’t think that this should be a big deal since gifted designers are both male and female.

In von Furstenberg’s design of the bottle, here’s what the Martin Renaud, President of evian® Volvic® World said:

Diane von Furstenberg is a globally-recognized pioneer in the fashion industry through her eponymous DVF brand and has also established herself as an icon through her philanthropic ventures and mentorship as president of Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Her design for evian’s latest limited edition bottle symbolizes von Furstenberg’s youthful mindset and inspirational way of life, while perfectly embodying evian’s Live Young attitude and brand values.

The glass bottle’s design features words printed with the designer’s own handwriting, “Water is Life is Love is Life is Water is…” and is explained in the video above.

Something noticeably different in the packaging design this year: the bottle cap.  The bottle is sealed with a screw cap rather than a twist cap, which appears to be easier to open than the previous designer bottles (I’ve only collected them, but have not opened any of them).  In which case, this should make it a tougher decision for purchasers to collect them without opening them up.

According to the press release, the bottles can also be found throughout the of the year in hotels, bakeries, and select restaurants.  In looking to purchase this collector bottles in Canada, I recommend going to your high-end specialty grocery supermarkets (Pusateri’s, McEwan, IGA, Urban Fare, etc).

evian 2013 DVF

Canada Remembrance Day

Lest We ForgetHappy Remembrance Day, Canadian readers.  For those that are not familiar with this holiday, Canadians (and a other countries around the world) observe November 11th as the day World War 1 hostilities ended with the official ending of the war ending at a later day.  This day is recognized as a commemorative day for the armed forces that gave their life and the surviving veterans that fought to keep this country free.

No posts this week, check back again next week or follow me through Twitter at @BevWire (click the follow button on the column to the right)!

Is Jones Soda Rationalizing Their Products?

Where will the beverage industry be without Jones Soda, as a beverage and as a company?  It appears the company is in slight disarray given their most recent news in the headlines.  The most current headline stated that their stock was recently delisted from the NASDAQ stock market and was suspended from trading on the index since September 20.  Prior to that there was a corporate restructuring that replaced Bill Meissner with Jennifer Cue as CEO and commentary indicated that they will be heading in a different strategic direction.

Jones Soda logo

This new strategic direction may have impacted their product portfolio as they continue to make changes to return to profitability.  There has been no mention of their seasonal limited edition soda flavors.  Jones Au Naturel – one of their previously heralded product launched – could not be found directly on their product website.  In order to find Jones Au Naturel, you would have to know the web address and type it in correctly, but I have included it here should you want to check out the still existing webpage (link here).  Their retired products page features more products than their current beverage portfolio (link here).  It seems like their new strategic direction is strictly streamlining their beverage offerings to their bread and butter: Jones Pure Cane Soda, Jones Zilch, and Whoopass Energy Drink.

Jones Products - courtesy of jonessoda.comGiven their current company state, they may be streamlining their product portfolio to conserve their investment dollars until further notice.  While it does make sense to go back to your roots, the beverage landscape is constantly changing and being mainly involved in producing premium soda may not be enough to sustain the standalone company.  Their track record of product launches into other categories have not been successful (refer to their retired products page), which may prove why they  would want to stick to their core offerings.  However, they should continue to try and penetrate new beverage categories (or create new beverage categories) after some strong market segmentation and evaluations.

After all, who knew premium soda could be that tasty and entertaining without companies like Jones Soda Co and Pop Shoppe?  Their core offering of premium soda got them to where they are today, but they must continue innovating and launching new products in order to propel them into the future.

Just think, where will the beverage industry be without Jones Soda and their insistence on glass packaging to preserve the optimum soda taste?  We’ll be left with mainly plastic bottles and aluminum cans.  So while Jones Soda is rationalizing their product portfolio, I hope it’s only temporary and that they come out with some more exciting products.