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.

MiO Sport: Fit For Any Occasion

Courtesy of funnycommercialsworld.com
The office worker is now a basketball celebrity.  Courtesy of funnycommercialsworld.com

MiO Sport is Kraft’s latest innovation in their liquid enhancers Canadian product line (MiO Fit is what is introduced in the U.S).  While the product has been available since their February 2013 Super Bowl ad, they had not implemented any video promotions in Canada.  Until now.  Re-positioning the product as “MiO Sport”, they have released two commercials to talk about MiO Sport in the Canadian marketplace.

Here’s the MiO Sport commercial “Swish” from early May 2013:

It doesn’t take long for the viewer to guess what is being advertised in these commercials.  Notice that neither of these commercials mentioned anything about it “changing everything?”  It is because they have already educated the consumer on what MiO is and how to use it; the video itself implies that MiO Sport changes everything.  The next step is to show different situations to use MiO Sport.

With regard to the Swish commercial, the commercial follows the same structure as their previous MiO ad spot.  The original video was based in an office setting and featured the same office guy.  Every time the scene cuts from one person talking to another person, something changes.  This commercial’s ultimate message is very similar to the original MiO video: squirting MiO Sport into your water changes everything.  And then you see all the crazy situations of how this regular office worker (definitely not athletic) transforms into an outrageously successful basketball player.  It’s so over-the-top that its believable.  MiO Sport is not advertising that squirting MiO turns you into a successful athlete, rather it is making fun of it.  And that keeps with the brand’s personality.

And here’s their latest commercial “Eye of the Squirter” from July 2013:

Their second commercial “Eye of the Squirter” is different from their previous commercials.  While the main character is still the same person in the previous two ad spots, they are no longer set in the same environment that changes multiple times.  This time it is sporting activities in various environments, such as the track, the swimming pool, and the hockey locker room.   Notice that these sports also have a stronger Canadian tone to them?  While MiO itself wasn’t introduced outright from the beginning, it becomes obvious what is being advertised given the visual cues.  The advertisement’s goal is to show you that MiO Sport is a fitting hydration choice for any activities – even if it is power walking on the track.

Do either of these commercials spur you to hydrate yourself with MiO Sport?  After all, it does appear that MiO Sport is targeting a different consumer segment.  While Powerade and Gatorade are after the serious athlete, MiO Sport is only targeting the casual athlete and the average-fit consumer.  There are more people that match this consumer group than that of the serious athlete.  My guess is that the MiO Sport does have a strong appeal in the Canadian marketplace, and we should see sales taking off soon enough – if it hasn’t already.

It’s also an interesting note that these commercials are not strictly made for TV, rather it is made for YouTube and a version of it is released for TV (a topic I will highlight in a separate post).  If you don’t believe me, feel free to click into all the separate “hidden” commercials that they talk about.

Zevia’s Organic Growth Differentiates Them From vitaminwater

Courtesy of Zevia.com
Courtesy of Zevia.com

Zevia recently announced that they were adding three more all-natural soda flavors to their Canadian offerings.  Cherry Cola, Dr. Zevia and Caffeine Free Cola joined the existing Canadian selection that included Cola, Cream Soda, and Ginger Ale among many other flavors.  In total, that brings their total portfolio to 11 sodas for the Canadian market.  Our American counterparts only have four incremental flavors than us, which may prove that our taste preferences are not really all that different.  See all the Zevia flavors here.  However, with the proliferation of soda flavors, will Zevia run into a problem that we have seen with another beverage offering: glaceau vitaminwater?  Will this end up being detrimental to Zevia in the long term, as we have seen vitaminwater peak and start to decline with reduced advertising support?

In more ways than one, Zevia and vitaminwater have common ground that would lead us to come to this conclusion of Zevia’s possible rise and fall.  For one, both beverage brands capitalized on consumption trends.  Zevia gained market acceptance as consumers became increasingly interested in all things “all-natural”.  vitaminwater gained sales as consumers started to look for something less boring than bottled water.  And because both were the leaders of their respective categories, their growth became synonymous with their segment’s growth.  Both companies started out as independent outfits separate from global beverage manufacturers.  vitaminwater as most of know may know, is now a part of Coca-Cola, despite all the separation the hydration brand is trying to create between them.  In terms of product offerings, both have great tasting products that stretch into the double digits.  It is a very plausible assumption to think that Zevia will follow vitaminwater’s path.

However, what sets Zevia a part from this comparison is that they are still a stand-alone entity and not a division within a larger beverage organization.  That makes a world of difference.  While they may not have the luxury of stronger financial backing, they are also growing themselves organically.  When vitaminwater was brought into Coca-Cola, the hydration brand was given much stronger product distribution and piggy-backed off of Coca-Cola’s distribution network.  This helped vitaminwater gain strong market visibility, and at a much quicker rate than when they stood separately.  Unfortunately, the downside of being in a conglomerate beverage company also proved detrimental to vitaminwater.  As Coca-Cola shifted their focus inward to grow their core offerings of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero, vitaminwater as well as other beverages in their portfolio suffered.  They received less advertising and promotional support.  Zevia will continue to grow because they are their own company, and their sole dedication is toward this beverage brand.

Zevia is also not as celebrity-endorsed as vitaminwater.  With celebrity endorsements, they could endorse one beverage now and change their endorsement later when another refreshment company provides them with a more lucrative deal.  And while Zevia has less star power than vitaminwater, they are also certainly less volatile given the celebrity’s reputation.  For example, if a celebrity was perceived negatively by the media, the products and services they endorse would receive a “halo effect” and also be viewed as negative.  Take Tiger Woods and Nike a few years back.  Or does anyone want to have Lindsay Lohan as your spokeswoman right now?

In any case, Zevia should continue to rise while vitaminwater continues to experience growing pains.  While Zevia may still yet encounter the same problems that vitaminwater is currently going through, they still have a ways to go.  The all-natural trend is here to stay, and all-natural sweeteners are getting more widely accepted by consumers.  Let’s just hope that Zevia keeps these things in mind should a similar scenario arise for them.

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!

AQUAhydrate Grows Through Distribution and Celebrity Partnerships

The AQUAhdyrate Family, courtesy of B | W | R Public Relations.

Has anyone noticed the amount of press that AQUAhydrate has gotten recently?  After their rebranding effort in 2012, they have reached some significant milestones.  Most recently, they gained more national availability in the grocery channel with new distribution agreements at Safeway and Kroger’s.  They secured even more publicity after Mark Wahlberg and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs announced they were partnering with AQUAhydrate to help develop and execute the beverage brand’s business strategy.  What does all this mean for the brand and for Canadian consumers?  Will their continued success lead to stronger availability in Canada?  And how will celebrity partnerships help the beverage refreshment perform better?

Let’s answer the latter question first: will celebrity partnerships with Mark Wahlberg and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs help deliver stronger business performance?  It all starts with making the right choices; there must be mutual benefits beyond previous arrangements like the celebrity endorsement compensated financially.  When you are endorsing a beverage or any other product, you are mainly communicating the product or service benefits to the public.  There is no guarantee that you believe in its success or benefits – you are simply saying what you’ve been paid to say in order to make money.  However, what more and more companies realize that without any vested interest from the celebrity, it’s mainly a one-way transaction.  There is no passion for the refreshment beyond the financials.

Mark Wahlberg and Sean Comb speak to the media at the AQUAhydrate press conference.  Courtesy of AQUAhydrate's facebook page.
Mark Wahlberg and Sean Comb speak to the media at the AQUAhydrate press conference. Courtesy of AQUAhydrate’s facebook page.

Through this realization, more companies are finding celebrities that truly believe in the product’s success.  Diet Coke found Jean-Paul Gaultier, Taylor Swift, and Marc Jacobs.  Pepsi found Beyonce.  Evian has been doing this for years, and has found a plethora of fashion designers willing to put their mark on collectible glass bottles each year.  All these celebrities are not just being paid to talk up their favorite beverage, rather they are involved with the business in some shape or form.  Beyonce is involved with Pepsi’s creative process and how the soda brand is represented to music fans worldwide.  In a similar sense, Wahlberg and Combs are expected to be involved with the business strategy component for AQUAhydrate.  They are expected to actively participate in helping get AQUAhydate into more grocery stores and more consumer shopping carts.  The fact that both celebrities chose to partner with AQUAhydrate, they must believe in the beverage’s business prospects and how they can add value.  Therefore, this business partnership should stand a very high chance of success.

To answer the former question on what this means to Canadian retailers and consumers, the new distribution arrangements should help.  Safeway is a grocery chain with an American presence as well as a Canadian presence, so the incremental distribution for AQUAhydrate could likely be the result of having the refreshment merchandised in Canadian Safeway grocery stores.  Some research and a quick question to the AQUAhydrate team revealed that the water beverage is indeed found in Safeway stores, as well as most Canadian GNC and Quebec Couche-Tard outlets.  Some readers have said that the beverage brand was also found in high-end grocery stores, so it can be expected that AQUAhydrate will continue to expand its Canadian presence.

Since its September rebranding effort, AQUAhydrate has rebounded and made some great strides forward.  With its expanded distribution and strong celebrity partnerships, there’s no doubt that the beverage brand is primed for even more success in the future.  With Walhberg and Combs on board to help with the business strategy, who knows what celebrity wants to sign on next with the brand to help propel it to new heights?

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

evian Smart Drop: Buy Water From Your Fridge

evian Smart Drop Magnet 

Evian is launching a home delivery service through an innovative fridge magnet.  The water droplet shaped magnet is called “Smart Drop” and connects through your WiFi network for ordering the type of water you want, and your choice of delivery day and time.  It is currently being tested in parts of France right now, specifically Paris.  There has been no plans to launch the Smart Drop outside certain parts of Paris and close by suburbs, but we would have to wonder how successful this magnet can be if it comes to Canada.    This may be a good idea based on European’s consumer and shopper behavior, would this item find success in Canada?   The Smart Drop essentially cuts out the retailer to make buying water easier at home, so how does this affect Canadian retailers?

Retailers may react unfavorably toward the Smart Drop’s launch in Canada.  evian would now be competing directly against the customers where they list their products.  As a function of retailer consolidation in Canada, Canadian retailers typically hold more power than their European counterparts.  Losing one retailer in Canada (ie. Loblaws/Superstores or Wal-Mart) could prove to be very significant.  In addition to losing the evian bottled water sales, retailers are also afforded less opportunities to build a grocery trip sale with the “evian consumer”.  This potentially takes out sales from fruit, bread, and a broad assortment of other grocery products.

On the other hand, it may not have as dramatic an affect as described above.  evian could alleviate the problem by incorporating location services into the Smart Drop magnet, suggesting closely located retailers that may have evian on hand.  This way, evian would be partnering with the retailer to reach the consumer rather than competing for the same consumer.  Better yet, evian would branch out to become the delivery service for the retailer, helping deliver not only evian water but a variety of items to the consumer at home.

At the end of the day, this may simply be a novelty item for consumers to play with once or twice.  It may not be sustainable since consumers still end up going to the grocery store for other products and bottled water exists as a grocery list item.  The only consumers that may end up using this Smart Drop magnet long term would be die-hard evian consumers, but even then they would still need to go to buy other grocery products.

Retailers should have less to worry about than the worst-case scenario described above.

Kraft MiO: Dasani Drops and Other Copycats

Kraft MiO

This week’s post focuses on the growing trend of liquid water enhancers.  Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal, Bevnet.com, and BevReview.com all broke news that Kraft MiO will be expecting some branded competition fairly soon (BevReview’s article has some more information, and links to the other two articles here).  While the current market in the United States for liquid enhancers includes MiO and some smaller players, the entry of Coca-Cola’s Dasani Drops signals that the category is viable and ready for more competition.  After all, MiO has been in the market for just over a year and has extended their product line to include caffeine content to reach out to users that want an energy boost in their beverage options as well (MiO Energy).

As the leader and only well-known branded player, Kraft had to invest significant dollars into educating users and bringing attention to the category.  Their product can only be successful with more awareness about the product and liquid water enhancers market.  As a result of increased awareness, private label manufacturers have benefited greatly from MiO’s innovations by driving shoppers into grocery supermarkets and the beverage aisle.  Grocery stores have introduced their own version of the product and placed them side-by-side with MiO but at lower prices.  Shoppers originally came in-store to buy a MiO liquid water pack, but switch to a less expensive option at the shelf because they do not want to sink in so much money into an unknown product.  And now Kraft MiO’s growth and category promotion has attracted Coca-Cola’s Dasani to enter the market.

Wal-Mart's store brand of liquid water enhancers - courtesy of bevreview.com

Smart move by Coca-Cola to wait a year and then enter the market.  Let Kraft do all the work to bring attention to the category and products, monitor their sales and consumer reaction, then enter the category since it merits investment from the beverage giant.  Now they only have to focus on featuring their own product, while promoting the category becomes secondary since all the education costs were bore by Kraft in the previous year.  Kraft MiO will also benefit from the competition that Dasani Drops creates, since that will lead to more dollars spent on promoting products in the category overall.  The stronger category awareness is, the more chances that Kraft can sell their product without promotional dependence.

It’s likely that Coca-Cola’s entry will spark an entry from Pepsi and Nestle Waters in the near future.  When that happens, Kraft MiO will likely see diminishing returns since the category will have grown so much that now their focus will be product differentiation so shoppers are choosing their brand versus that of Dasani, Aquafina, Nestle Waters or some other product (note: there is no confirmation that Pepsi will be launching a liquid flavor enhancer, let alone extend the Aquafina name to the category – this is just a thought).

In Canada, the only liquid water enhancer that I’ve heard of comes from a company called Drink Intuition, which positions their product along the health and wellness trends of stress relief and detoxification.  The liquid water enhancer market would benefit greatly with more category promotion, but Intuition really is a niche player and does not appeal to everyone.  Canada could benefit greatly as MiO and Dasani potentially compete to see who can bring their product into the Canadian marketplace first.  With distribution all set up, it may only be a matter of adjusting their packaging and messaging to meet Canadian guidelines: including French copy and a nutrition table.

Until the product enters Canada, it looks like BevWire will still have to head south of the border to try and find some Kraft MiO and MiO Energy. Soon enough, I will also be looking for Dasani Drops.

Some Reasons on the Water Category’s Resurgence

BevNet’s Jeffrey Klineman recently detailed in a magazine article how the water category has returned to growth following some years of sales decline (link here).  His article first explains that some industry veterans left their original beverage ventures and found another company to apply their expertise to the water category.  In short, the water category has returned to healthy growing sales through packaging innovation and strategic partnerships.  One such company that has been growing sales through packaging innovation is 82go.

82go purely portable

82go developed a 100% recyclable plastic pouch package that contains 8 ounces of water, which can be folded down like a plastic bag when fully consumed.  Other than the sustainable benefits of the packaging, the innovation behind this is that the pouch uses the equivalent plastic of a bottle cap, and can be fully activated using only one hand.  Their core consumers are athletes like bicyclists and marathon runners where the user is always in motion and need to hydrate “on the go.”  The extension ranges for this package are broad in scope, as 82go only produces water at the moment.  Expansive opportunities may range from size variations (12 ounces, 16 ounces, etc) to product variations such as juices, teas and sports drinks (similar to the Gatorade pouch).

Consumers in general (not just athletes) are increasingly multitaskers so being able to multitask while hydrating in motion is a key benefit.  The makers of 82go have tapped into more than the functional benefits of its product; the convenience factor as well by taking into consideration what the user is doing while consuming its product.  The selling proposition focuses more on the usage benefits rather than the type of water (ie glacier water, icelandic water, etc).  It appears as though 82go realizes that water is mostly thought of as a commodity product, and that no matter the source of origin, water is still water.  Marketing the type of water is not a strong enough selling point as a result of this consumer perception.  However, advertising on the usage benefit presents a much stronger case by repositioning what the consumer focuses on – the packaging’s convenience.

While the downside may be a question on the package’s durability and resealability, the potential upside far outweighs the negatives.  And in a category that appears to be commodity in nature, 82go seems to have found itself an area to delivery growth.  One of the many things that they will have to look out for is competition since their packaging may not be patented, leaving room for other players to enter looking to replicate their success.