For the beverage category, a bottle of water is always more than just a bottle of water.
It’s a promise of refreshment. A vessel filled with good health and hydration. Sometimes it’s a momentary escape to a mountain spring or an exotic island. Or a reflection of a lifestyle you live, or aspire to, in your everyday life.
But even with the packaging and promises, a bottle of water still presents one of the largest marketing challenges across the consumer packaged goods category. As carbonated soda loses a bit of its sales fizz, the water category is being positioned as the sales savior for the nation’s beverage giants. As a result, grocery store aisles, vending machines and gas station coolers are becoming ever more crowded with large and small brands promising a new hook on H20-to-go. Marketers must work harder than ever to differentiate their bottles—and their brands—from the rest. It’s a perception challenge that’s unique to almost every other consumer product made even more challenging by an inherent propensity towards waste. Case in point: many cities across the country have banned bottled water in an effort to cut down on their inevitable journey to a landfill, affecting sales and consumer consumption patterns along the way.
And so, in an effort to boost awareness and connect with younger consumers, Coca-Cola’s Dasani brand has shifted face-to-face marketing into overdrive. The brand’s experiential program not only differentiates its water from the rest as part of its strategy to win the hearts and thirsts of college students across the country (Dasani now comes in a 100 percent recyclable bottle), it is transforming a perception of waste into an eco-friendly, feel-good purchasing experience.