I know many of you have smiled at their antics. Whether they are roller skating or mimicking their older selves, those cute babies are a viral hit. Apparently, however, their appeal has not managed to boost Evian’s fortunes in the USA. AdAge reports that Evian is now the number three premium water brand behind FIJI and Glacéau smartwater.
Eric O’Toole, president-GM at Danone Waters North America, which imports and markets Evian, identifies Evian’s failure as follows:
The brand allowed other brands like FIJI and smartwater to define the game and keep the pressure on. They innovated on bottle shape and the use of influencers in the space. While they gained steam, Evian was quietish.
The example of Evian is a salutary reminder that it takes more than great creativity to keep a brand strong and successful. You have to continue to innovate around the brand, not necessarily in terms of the product itself, but how it is packaged and all its various touch points. Even a great creative campaign needs to be rooted in what the brand stands for in a way that is readily appreciated by its audience. Evian’s lackluster performance is also a reminder that success is dependent not just on what you do, but what the competition does too.
If FIJI water is the parvenu of the mineral water world, then Evian could claim to be the grande dame, since its illustrious history dates back to 1789. And did you know that Evian first focused on producing water for babies in 1935, becoming “the water for feeding-bottles” because its bacteria-free purity made it safe to drink it without boiling? It was news to me.
I cannot help but feel that Evian’s problem today is that its marketing has become divorced from the brand’s purpose and origins. A brand needs to stand for something meaningful beyond simply being salient. Evian is still more salient and better-known than FIJI according to BrandZ, but it lacks a compelling story to justify choosing it over the competition. This is not an uncommon situation for a venerable brand like Evian. Over time, what it stands for gets lost and the marketing becomes more and more focused on creating buzz not meaning.
Consider these three Evian ads. (1 2 3) None of them explicitly hark back to the brand’s origins, but note how the first and second ones, while separated by a decade, focus attention on the brand as a metaphorical “fountain of youth.” In the first, the introduction states, “Let’s observe the effects of Evian on your body” and in the second it asks, “How does Evian make you feel?” In the third, the dancing babies have become the sole star of the commercial and the brand is relegated to an end shot with no real attempt to tie the brand into the action.
So what do you think? What could Evian do to revive its fortunes? Will a new bottle shape be enough? What do you think of the new campaign? Please share your thoughts.
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