Kenzo Designs evian’s 2015 Collector Bottle

evian+Kenzo 2014 designer water bottle.  Courtesy of thedieline.com
evian+Kenzo 2014 designer water bottle. Courtesy of thedieline.com

Every year evian releases a limited edition glass bottle designed by a fashion house.  This year is no different, with evian and the French fashion house Kenzo joining together to release their 2015 limited edition designer glass bottle.  This year’s bottle design features a wavy zig zag pattern in purple and yellow print.  Via popsop.com, Kenzo’s creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, describe the wavy pattern as the French Alps (purple lines) and the mountain spring water (yellow lines).

Including Kenzo, this marks the eighth year that evian has partnered with fashion designers to launch premium collectible water bottles.  Starting with Christian Lacroix in 2008, evian has also partnered with Jean Paul Gaultier (2009), Paul Smith (2010), Issey Miyake (2011), Andre Correges (2012), Diana von Furstenberg (2013), and most recently Elie Saab (2014).

evian's designer bottles throughout the years, startingn with Christian Lacroix (far right) to Kenzo (far left).
evian’s designer bottles throughout the years, most recently in 2015 with Kenzo (far left).  evian began their fashion partnership in 2008 with Christian Lacroix (far right).

It seems that evian has really carved out a niche for themselves with these collectible bottle designs.  Consumers interested in fashion or otherwise (myself) anticipate the launch of these bottles and pick up a few of them.  After missing on first few bottle designs, I’ll be adding the Kenzo glass bottle to my collection this year.

Here’s some more photos of the Kenzo evian glass bottle design.

evian's 2015 collectible glass bottle, designed by Kenzo.  Courtesy of popsop.com
evian’s 2015 collectible glass bottle, designed by Kenzo. Courtesy of popsop.com
evian's 2015 collectible water bottle, designed by Kenzo.  This one appears to be a plastic bottle.  Courtesy of popsop.com
evian’s 2015 collectible water bottle, designed by Kenzo. This one appears to be a plastic bottle. Courtesy of popsop.com

Pepsi Creates Caleb’s Kola By Recycling Pepsi Natural

Caleb's Kola - Pepsi's craft soda made with kola nut, cane sugar, brown spices, and citric acid.
Caleb’s Kola – Pepsi’s craft soda made with kola nut, cane sugar, brown spices, and citric acid.

The declining trend for soft drink consumption has not deterred Pepsi from launching a craft soda to attract an elusive demographic: millenials.  Maybe five years is long enough for everyone in the beverage industry to forget, so it may be worth reminding readers of Pepsi’s history.  It wasn’t that long ago that Pepsi launched Pepsi Natural (Pepsi Raw if you’re in United Kingdom) patterned the same way, with its natural ingredients and glass bottles.  Are Pepsi Natural and Caleb’s Kola essentially the same thing?  If yes, does Pepsi stand a better chance of making Caleb’s Kola a success five years after the Pepsi Natural failed?

From the ingredient list and glass bottle packaging, Pepsi Natural and Caleb’s Kola look very much alike.  Both sodas are made with kola nut and cane sugar, and come in glass bottles to highlight its authenticity.  Both drinks are also available through limited distribution, with Caleb’s Kola only available through Costcos in Maryland, New York, Virginia and Washington, DC.  Both products came off Pepsi-branded delivery trucks.  And both are produced in Pepsi bottling facilities rather than Caleb’s Kola being made by small, localized independent bottlers.  It seems that many aspects of the product and business practices are identical between the two.  A key point of differentiation does exist between them – which could help Caleb’s Kola succeed – is the marketing.  Branding the product as Pepsi may have been a factor of the Pepsi Natural’s failure.  The overt association with Pepsi may have made the “natural” aspect of their product less believable.

Prior to its launch, Pepsi Natural’s UK team gave out product samples for 6 weeks.  Results were favorable.  More than 1.2 million bottles were sampled and over 80% of samplers claimed they liked the taste.  An additional 75% of respondents stated they would be purchase the soda.  As we now know, the sales results did not mirror the sampling efforts.  Pepsi Natural was discontinued quickly after its launch.  Pepsi UK discontinued the natural soda in 2010.  Norway had it for nine months before ceasing sales support in 2011.  In the US, its end date is unknown by certainly by 2011 Pepsi had moved to focus on other sodas.  It certainly looks like the odds are stacked against Caleb’s Kola, but times have changed and it may actually fare better than Pepsi Natural with its new name.

Maybe Caleb’s Kola will find more success in 2014 than its 2009 predecessor.  Millenials and consumers generally have valued healthy consumption more highly in the years since.  Branding the product under a different name also limits the association with Pepsi.  And tools to market Caleb’s Kola are better than the ones available to promote Pepsi Natural.  If Caleb’s Kola is to be a success, let’s hope Pepsi has learned from its failures with Pepsi Natural.

CalebsKolaCheers

Odwalla Upsizes and Updates Packaging

Odwalla's updated 2014 packaging.  Courtesy of facebook.com
Odwalla’s updated 2014 packaging. Courtesy of facebook.com

Odwalla’s most recent packaging update has upset some consumers.  The premium juice maker was considered a leader in sustainable packaging by using Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle technology, but the makeover has them abandoning the PlantBottle in favor of the regular plastic bottle used by other beverages (BevNet story here).  This update also sees Coca-Cola’s premium juice brand forsake their color-coded cap system implemented in their previous packaging update – just last year.  Does this imply that the 2013 changes were unsuccessful, and confused consumers?  Will that the recent changes return their competitive edge?

With consistent product packaging for six years prior to the 2013 update, it would seem that their 2013 changes were geared toward attracting new consumers to the Odwalla business.  After all, if the product was fantastic and equally adept at generating repeat purchases, why change it?  Introducing a color-coded cap system was designed to build the juice franchise through educating consumers on their product portfolio.  Green caps denote “superfoods,” red meant fruit smoothies, blue equaled proteins, orange represented juices, purple for quenchers and finally yellow communicated seasonal products.  Do you think six different cap colors for over 20 different juices and smoothies help educate the juice browser, or frustrate them to the point of walking away?  Despite good intentions, this packaging change likely turned consumers away rather than bring them into drinking Odwalla.

Part of Odwalla's updated 2013 packaging.  Courtesy of facebook.com
Part of Odwalla’s updated 2013 packaging. Courtesy of facebook.com

Rectifying this fiasco necessitated the 2014 packaging changes.  Though a stronger competitive set meant returning to the old system wouldn’t suffice.  Everyone (Evolution Fresh, Bolthouse Farms, Naked, and a host of other niche players) had larger bottles compared to the Odwalla 12oz (355ml) bottle.  In order to properly compete, Odwalla brought in a bigger bottle in addition to making it clear.  They also returned to green caps to (hopefully) simplify the consumer’s shopping process.

It’s hard to say if these packaging updates helps restore the premium juice maker’s competitive advantage, though it’s a step in the right direction.  Anything that simplifies the shopping process has a higher probability of getting sold.  What may also help them increase sales is securing produce placement, which is what they are trying to do.  The product section is a stronghold juices made by Bolthouse Farms, Arthur’s Fresh, and POM, so getting product placement in this area will certainly help Odwalla enter the conversation among premium juice purchasers.  Only time will tell if this new, simpler packaging will help move the needle for Coca-Cola’s premium juice brand.

POM Wonderful and Coca-Cola sue each other

Courtesy of foodindentityblog.com.  Is the Minute Maid juice label misleading?
Courtesy of foodindentityblog.com. Is the Minute Maid juice label misleading?

The food & beverage landscape may undergo significant changes shortly if a lawsuit between POM Wonderful & Coca-Cola is decided in POM’s favor. POM is suing Coca-Cola for misleading packaging for its Minute Maid Pomegranate Blueberry juice.  The labeling suggests that the beverage is a 100% fruit juice flavored with a combination of five fruit juices.  The beverage contents are primarily apple and grape juice, containing only 0.3% blueberry juice, 0.2%. pomegranate juice, and 0.1% raspberry juice.

The crux is whether one organization can sue another for misleading labeling that was deemed permissible by the Food & Drug Administration.  The FDA has decided that the beverage contents and the name itself satisfies their labeling requirements.  That said, the governing body allows companies to name the product based on the flavor even if trace amounts were used to produce the flavor.  Volume quantification is not necessary for the product contents.  Linda Goldstein, a partner with Manatt, Phelps and Phillips prefaced the following to AdWeek (full article here):

“Depending on how the Supreme Court rules, the ramifications could be broad. This is a huge case for the food and beverage industry.  No one has asserted that Coca-Cola violated FDA rules and law. The issue is whether the FDA regulations are the floor or the ceiling. Pom says it’s the floor and that the label can still be misleading.”

Should this case be decided favoring Coca-Cola, the food & beverage industry’s product labeling practice is kept intact.  POM will have made an even larger name for itself and Coca-Cola will carry on business as usual.  In the end, this could serve as a win for both Coca-Cola and POM Wonderful despite the court ruling in Coca-Cola’s favor and everyone paying exorbitant legal fees (the case has been around since 2008).

If the court ruled in POM’s favor, this sets the stage for increased vigilance toward product package labels.  Beyond the direct impact where Minute Maid must augment the product label, other food & beverage products currently on the market will be availability for scrutiny.  According to Goldstein in the AdWeek article, the fact that it could lead to a class action litigation suggests that many products do not satisfy the labeling requirements.  The precedent would be set that an organization can reduce the competitor’s advantage by scrutinizing their packaging claims.  Will this ultimately lead more companies to sue other companies for the sake of labeling challenges?

The genesis of POM’s lawsuit was Coca-Cola’s introduction of this Minute Maid Pomegranate Juice at a lower price point relative to POM’s products.  Given Coca-Cola’s distribution and marketing muscle, it’s understandable that POM would want to level the playing field as much as possible.  However, be careful what you wish for.  POM is also currently in appeals with the Federal Trade Commission over their own misleading advertising claims (full article here).  Through all of this, both beverage organizations’ focus has been on reducing the competition’s advantage.  Let’s hope that they return to their core business functions sooner rather than later: selling refreshing beverages.

evian Designer Bottles Spur Imitators

evian Elie Saab designer bottle - courtesy of fashionfoiegras.com.
evian Elie Saab designer bottle – courtesy of fashionfoiegras.com.

For the seventh consecutive year, evian has commissioned famous fashion designers to design a limited edition bottle for them.  Following in the tradition of Issey Miyake, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Diane von Furstenberg, Elie Saab has agreed to design a limited edition glass bottle for evian.  Saab’s unique patterns is described to depict a lace gown, which showcases the strong attention to detail and expert craftsmanship for both Saab and evian.

It appears that evian has forged a strong partnership between their premium bottled water brand and the fashion industry.  With seven consecutive years of unique glass bottle designs and no indication of slowing down, this has become an annual tradition that all beverage shoppers look forward to (this one included).  As all successful ventures spur imitators, it is very likely that other beverage brands will follow in evian’s footsteps by collaborating with artists and designers.  Diet Coke has commissioned Marc Jacobs to design a collectible bottle for them, specifically available in the European markets.  Prior to that, both Diet Coke and evian have both sought out a collaboration with Jean-Paul Gaultier for limited edition glass bottle designs.  And most recently Perrier got into the designer bottles with Andy Warhol collector glass and plastic bottles.  However, in trying to imitate evian, which beverage manufacturer has done it right and which hasn’t?

It seems that Diet Coke has done it right and Perrier has not.  The partnership choices with Marc Jacobs, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Andy Warhol are all great choices.  Despite being artists and designers in different industries (fashion and art), they all represent important facets toward artistic culture.  However, while Marc Jacobs, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Elie Saab were commissioned to design the bottles in their current years, the Andy Warhol  bottles are a design from twenty years ago.  The difference is that what was current twenty years ago is not necessarily current today.  And the designs with Jean-Paul Gaultier and Elie Saab were a direct collaborative effort with the designers themselves, Perrier’s collaboration is with the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Beyond the design, the other major flaw in Perrier’s strategy has been its packaging itself.  A designer bottle must convey elegance and prestige, which will certainly exist for glass bottles.  Even aluminum cans can have this elegant property when designed properly.  Plastic bottles do not carry this trait.  Plastic bottles carry with it a notion that it changes the taste of whatever beverage it holds with it.  It also carries with it the perception that it was born out of a replacement for glass bottles.  In addition to glass and plastic, see the image below for the various sizes that Perrier has made their Andy Warhol collection available for purchase.  Despite the different product sizes and shapes that Diet Coke can be found in, the designer products were only limited to glass bottles and select aluminum cans.  evian created a special 750ml size for their designer glass bottle.  Neither made it available across their entire portfolio.  Once this has been done, it takes away the prestige factor because it’s not as scarce.

Courtesy of businesswire.com.  Perrier's Andy Warhol collector bottles - available in both glass and plastic.
Courtesy of businesswire.com. Perrier’s Andy Warhol collector bottles – available in both glass and plastic.

Perrier’s final flaw: distribution.  Not that Diet Coke showing up in grocery stores is any better, but the Perrier bottle has been found with the dollar channel.  Does this need any more explaining?  Collectible, and fashionable products rarely make its way to dollar channels or wholesale channels simply because of the channel’s image.  With Andy Warhol Perrier being found there, what does that do for the brand and the product?  I would imagine that it lowers its prestige and elegance.

In the end, it may only be a question of whether the Andy Warhol Perrier bottles actually helped Perrier sell more product.  However, the broader question may be whether this collaborative effort has actually been detrimental toward both Perrier and Andy Warhol.

Red Bull Launches New Product: BULL Energy Drink

Courtesy of BevNet.com - the new Red Bull
Courtesy of BevNet.com – the new Red Bull “Bull” Energy Drink.

Thanks to a tip-off from BevNet.com, we learned that Red Bull North America has quietly released a new limited edition orange-flavored energy drink (BevNet article here).  The new 8.4oz (250ml) energy drink is closely linked to soccer, predominantly available in sporting venues where soccer is the main attraction.  After launching beverage innovations in other areas, it appears that Red Bull has returned to exert their influence within energy drinks.  With failed experiments at penetrating soft drinks (with Red Bull Cola) and energy shots (with Red Bull Energy Shots), the renewed focus toward energy drinks is a welcome sign for the energy drink manufacturer.

However, why was this product launched without much publicity?  It took consumers to bring up this launch in order for BevNet to squeeze more information out of Red Bull.  Even a search through google has revealed no information nor any high quality images for this product as of yet.  Is this a new launch plan that Red Bull is trying out, where they offer different flavors in limited duration?  Is this even a good strategy given their strength and associations with “energy”?

Red Bull’s latest launch carries with it the discussion of “Push vs Pull Marketing”.  With consumers searching out more information on the BULL energy drink, Red Bull may have effectively created new consumer demand for this innovation – hence the manufacturer’s “pull” tactic.  Regardless of intent, they have transformed their brand loyalists into advocates for the new energy drink.  And instead of selling it into retailers and sacrificing shelf space for a new extension (the manufacturer’s “push” tactic), the consumer demand may help put this drink in the fridges and cooler vaults at the expense of Monster, Rockstar, or a host of other energy drink manufacturers.  Even if the target was for sporting venues exclusively.  If this is a new introduction strategy that Red Bull is trying, then it has been successful at generating buzz.

The question on whether this is a good strategy is a tougher one to answer.  Even with the product launch deemed a success, the question on how much more successful it would have been with marketing support remains.  Given that Red Bull and “energy drink” are synonymous like Kleenex and facial tissue, or Colgate and toothpaste, or Band-Aid and adhesive bandages, why do they not leverage on the strength of their brand name?  The equity of the Red Bull name carries with it easy access to retailer distribution and a profit premium.  The fact that the product’s packaging bears minor resemblance to Red Bull starts an entirely new discussion on what Red Bull is trying to do here.  Per the BevNet article on the different look of this product, could Red Bull be attempting to create sub-brands or sub-segments within their product portfolio?  Or are they trying to be show off more brand personality with the whimsical packaging?  Certainly thought-starters for a different day.

What we know so far is that after the foray into soda and energy shots, Red Bull has hit home runs with their energy drink product launches.  Red Bull Total Zero and Red Bull Editions should have generated incremental sales to their beverage franchise without much cannibalization.  Should the BULL energy drink become a staple, chances are it will be a success as well.

Newest Japanese Soft Drink: Hot Ginger Ale

Canada Dry Japan's Hot Gingerale - via huffpost.com
Canada Dry Japan’s Hot Gingerale – via huffpost.com

Japan has always had some interesting innovations with their beverages, ranging from soda flavors such as cucumber, green tea, and Cheetos.  At the root of it all, these quirky flavors (to Westerners) are an indication of how different a Japanese consumer’s taste preferences are.  The latest innovation in Japan’s carbonated soft drink category?  Hot Ginger Ale from Coca-Cola’s Canada Dry.  As this new product is gearing up for introduction in late October, many questions are left unanswered.  How is this can heated up?  Will soda manufacturers in Japan develop other heated soda beverages?  Will it make its way over to America?

While hot drinks are normally found in Japan, hot carbonated drinks are quite different.  Carbonation is typically lost when a soda is heated up, but Coca-Cola has managed to maintain the beverage’s carbonation despite it being heated up.  After four years of research & testing, their technology allows for the beverage to maintain carbonated when heated up without burning the hand.  The Gizmag has a feature piece on Hot Can, one of the companies that has developed self-heating can technology (article link here).  The can is multi-layered becomes heat-activated with the press of a button, some shaking, and about 20-30 seconds of wait time.  The can’s layers separate the beverage from the heat activation layer, and will add a predetermined amount of heat upon activation.  Therefore storage at room temperature is best – fridge-storage means the heating the beverage up won’t really make it that hot, while storing it in a already hot place will burn the hand.  The can has a heat indicator to safeguard against burning the hand.

Given that Japanese drinks have explored many new frontiers on taste, packaging, and now temperature, it likely won’t be the last area where they try launching new products in.  Apparently, Coca-Cola has already introduced self-heating coffees in Japan.  This goes to show that other heated drinks may not be entirely uncommon.  Should this Hot Ginger Ale product become successful, there is no limit to what other soft drinks will be introduced targeted for heated consumption.  Kirin Japan is already slated to launch their own heated soft drink a couple of weeks after Hot Ginger Ale hits the market – titled Kirin No Awa: Hot Hojun Apple & Hop.  Could Pepsi also be in the works to launch their own heated beverage soon as well?

So far, these heated soft drinks are primed for release in Japan and no other country.  However, the technology is more important than the soft drink itself.  While Westerners may find warm soft drinks hard to stomach, there may be other uses for this technology.  Heated coffee and tea sounds very plausible to penetrate the North American beverage landscape, and heated sport drinks and energy drinks may not be all that weird either.  And despite our perception of beverages being best served hot or cold, it’s innovations like these that really make you think about whether there is a different way to consume the beverage.

BevWire Interviews Zevia CEO Paddy Spence

Courtesy of Zevia.com
Courtesy of Zevia.com

After my coverage that compared Zevia with vitaminwater, Extension PR (Zevia’s PR agency) noticed the post and offered BevWire an opportunity to interview with Paddy Spence, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zevia.  What started as a 5-question interview lasted nearly 25 minutes with many insightful answers and comments by Mr. Spence.  Click through to listen to the interview, which is BevWire’s first post to a newly started YouTube channel.

For those that do not have the time to listen to the entire interview, here are some quick highlights that the chat touched upon:

  • 4:50 – Mr. Spence describes the differences between Canadian and American consumers, and why Zevia is well-positioned for growth in the Canadian marketplace.
  • 6:16 – Zevia’s distribution method is dual-pronged and retailer-friendly.  With sales data uncovering insights that customers were buying multiple cans each shopping trip in conventional grocers, this channel was their first arena for market penetration.
  • 14:27 – Zevia’s competitive set was initially benchmarked against steaz, Hansen’s and Dry Soda in the natural soda segment.  As their market status evolved, it now compares itself to the larger subset of the diet and zero-calorie soda segments.
  • 11:02 Zevia’s barriers to growth is a combination of building awareness, availability, and affordability.  Paddy describes that having the stevia ingredient regulated has helped improve awareness.  For availability, it is secured distribution across major Canadian retailers like Loblaws, Sobeys, and Safeway.  On affordability, Zevia’s consumers are willing to pay a slightly higher price given its healthier enhancements.
  • 16:44 – Paddy Spence comments on product proliferation, stating that Zevia is unlike vitaminwater in a few different aspects.  For one, Zevia’s marketed as a platform brand.  Also confirmed during Paddy’s ending comments were that they will have dedicated advertising and promotion support to feature the entire Zevia product line.
  • 21:33 – Zevia’s describes their marketing strategy and the evolution from a heavy digital component to the inclusion of traditional media.

There were certainly more insights from the interview itself, but I tried to note down the above as a quick summary.  Should you find time to listen to the whole thing, you will find out more about Zevia’s next steps in terms of entering the Canadian marketplace.

Stay tuned for more Zevia developments and more BevWire interviews in the future!

Coca-Cola Embraces Opening Happiness for Summer 2013

Image from 7-Eleven's twitter account
Coca-Cola’s 2013 cold-activated cans, exclusively with 7-Eleven.  Image from 7-Eleven’s twitter account.

It’s certainly been a busy summer for Coca-Cola with tons of consumer news from around the world.  Through a variety of news sources, BevWire has been able to pick up on a few of these news items.

First there was news of Coca-Cola partnering with 7-Eleven to provide summer-ready cold-activated aluminum cans exclusively (picture above).  These cans are available in 16oz (473ml) but there has not been any indication on whether they will also be available in the regular 12oz (355ml) cans, which would make it available nationwide to all retailers.  This continues a trend of beverage manufacturers making use of thermochromic ink to show that the soda (or beer in the case of Coors) are chilled to an appropriate temperature for cold consumption.

Following the news on color-changing cans, Coca-Cola announced that they had created a soda can that can be shared.  While I’m not fully sure if the designer logo featured in the video is the same as the Coca-Cola logo designed by Jonathan Mak (the same designer that gained fame creating the Steve Jobs Apple logo) – it certainly shows that Coca-Cola is all about passing along the message of happiness.  Being able to twist and share the core product itself may potentially lead to other opportunities about packaging.  And for regions and countries that focus intensely on calorie consumption, these sharing cans may be one way for Coca-Cola to say that they are limiting calorie intake (although this is only a positive byproduct of the original intention).  See the YouTube video below.

Finally, there is news of Coca-Cola’s European team following in team Australia’s footsteps in customizing Coca-Cola cans with popular male and female names (link here).  As per the link detailing their European entry, this followed on the success of Coca-Cola Australian where sales improved 4% with these new customized soda cans.  With the customization project extending out to include a vending machine to personalize Coke cans and bottles, the project is truly showcasing ways to extend warm feelings.

The summer of 2013 is about to begin and Coca-Cola has shown that they are all about opening happiness and sharing this with everyone.  While these initiatives are all occurring in different parts of the world, the message that the company embraces is the same everywhere.  I’m sure that there are other strategies the beverage company plan on sharing the joy with consumers and these will be brought to light either this year, or at some other time.

5 Questions with Nika Water’s Jordan Mellul

Nika Water logoThere are many companies that embrace driving social causes with their products, aiming to make the world a better place by donating a portion of their profits to for sustainability initiatives.  Nika Water is one such company that does this, and really tries to help as much and as quickly as possible with their social mandate.  Nika Water’s website details that the company donates 100% of their profits for clean water, education, and sanitation projects in developing nations.  BevWire was given an opportunity to interview Jordan Mellul, VP Operations for Nika Water – and through this interview you will see that their focus is really on improving sustainability and environmental causes.  Read about my insightful interview with Jordan below, ranging from Nika’s product positioning, to their marketing strategy, and their distribution strategy.

BevWire:  While Nika’s unique selling proposition is a social mandate to not only be carbon neutral, but also to donate profits to help solve environmental problems in developing countries, what makes Nika better than other products?

Jordan Mellul: To be honest, we try to keep it simple at Nika Water.  While our product is a reverse osmosis/UV light purified water, we really do want the focus to be on the brand and message that it carries.  Our aim is to reach the mass population and appeal to the widest demographic possible.  After all, Nika is set to donate our profits.  By specializing, and thus limiting, our consumers, we have less of a chance of creating larger funds to donate.  Compared to those that are benefiting from our efforts, we are humbled to even be able to discuss water choice in such detail.

Courtesy of Nika Water & Olive PR Solutions.
Courtesy of Nika Water & Olive PR Solutions.

BW: Nika Water’s website mentions that part of your strategy is to leverage marketing partnerships and social media to raise awareness of these environmental causes.  As such, Nika Water has partnered with World Vision and Free the Children among other organizations.  What type of inventive marketing partnerships and social media activities has Nika Water implemented?

JM: Unlike most typical and traditional water companies, Nika has always set itself apart by how we promote and share our brand’s message.  We know that educating the consumer on what choosing Nika Water means is the primary goal.  By marketing in the way that young, energetic juice, tea, and energy drinks go about things, we are able to show that the water category has the opportunity to be relevant and cool as well.  By speaking face to face with people at street fairs, festivals, and other events, we can share our story directly.  We have partnered, not only with world-class NGOs to show how social entrepreneurialism is a new way to make global change, but also clothing, accessory, and lifestyle brands that help make a difference too.  Social media has been used at every level and intertwined into all of our efforts to create awareness.  By holding contests, promoting other like-minded groups, and keeping open, honest conversations active with supporters, Nika does what no other bottled water does to be in touch.

BW: In terms of product availability, the website mentions that Nika can be found in natural food stores, delis, cafes among other distribution channels.  Is there any particular retailers stores I can direct the readers to go if they would like to purchase Nika water?  Also, what is Nika’s plan for expansion into the traditional grocery/drug/mass retailers?

JM: Currently, we are focused on building our brand in the types of places that have an independent feel and are staples of their community.  With a cause-based product like ours, we seek quality accounts over simply quantity.  It’s the owners and customers in these locations that connect with Nika’s entire appeal.  It’s because of this, that it isn’t so easy to point people directly to where to find Nika, other than their “corner shops”.  We may have plans to do open opportunities with more traditional grocery/drug/mass retailers down the road, but not until we feel we can really compete on the level that it requires.

Nika Water VP of Operations – Jordan Mellul

BW: While Nika’s website has a “Shop Nika” section that allows for online purchasing, are there any plans for international expansion into Canadian retailers?  If so, when would this be?

JM: Nika’s sales goals are taken territory by territory.  Still in our infancy, it is important to stabilize each market that we venture into, before looking to expand.  Our goals include covering the major US cities before attempting to break into the Canadian scene.  However, with the support of one of our first and largest NGO partners, Free The Children, being based in Toronto and well-known across all the provinces, we’re confident that the support would be there almost immediately.  In regards to the merchandise that we peripherally sell however, Canadian followers of Nika are welcome to purchase that now and wear their support!

BW:  Last question, are there any plans for line extensions or product innovations?

JM:  While it has always been discussed internally, there are no plans being put into action at this moment.  We really want people to focus on what we do now, and build our business’ foundation, before becoming more creative and branching out.  Water is simply our vehicle at the moment.  It is the means to an end. If trends or experience dictated that another product would be more suitable to generate income for our NGO partners, we would definitely adapt accordingly.

 Thanks so much for your time Jordan, and thank you Olive PR Solutions for arranging this!