solution

Evian is one of the most famous mineral water brands
owned by the French food-products group Danone.
Each year, approximately 1.5 billion bottles are sold in
more than 140 countries across the world. According to
the market research company Millward Brown, the Evian
brand can be valued at $1,027 million. The success of
the brand is a result of continuous innovation and powerful
and original communication.
At the end of the 19th century, Evian water, which
was sourced from a natural spring, became known for
its “miraculous” healing properties and was being sold
in pharmacies. By mid-1930s, Evian was recommended
as the perfect water for babies. Campaigns designed to
target mothers, midwives, and doctors were developed
consequently. In the 1950s, Evian was still catering to this
segment but its communication added a new reference
to health, and the theme of the Alps was introduced.
In the 1980s, the brand decided to go in a different
direction and the concept of equilibrium (“the force of balance”)
was dropped. The theme of purity was chosen to
differentiate the brand from competitors and enable highend
positioning of the product. The company adopted a
new slogan to reflect this change—“the water you drink is
as important as the air you breathe.”

In 1998, Evian in association with its advertiser
BETC Paris launched the hugely successful ad campaign
“Water Babies” that had babies swimming in synchronicity,
a metaphor through which the brand evoked youth.
In France, the approval rating for this ad was 94 percent
and the recognition score was 91 percent. This television
commercial had a very strong impact on the collective
conscious of people.
Globally, the brand focused on purity and used the
slogan, “the Original.” Press advertisements portrayed,
for example, a beautiful black angel lying on a white
cloud who brought down rain with a bottle of Evian,
or a mermaid quenching her thirst with Evian water.
Despite the differences in product-positioning based on
markets, the brand has always been conscious of its
upscale image.

The economic crisis of 2007-2009 had a negative
effect on the market for mineral water. Sales dropped
as more and more consumers turned to less expensive
water. During this time, the brand went through a restructure
to keep from losing its market share. As a result,
Evian has a premium and popular positioning in France,
Switzerland, the UK, and Belgium, while it is a luxury
brand in almost all the other countries. This is due to the
fact that in Europe, the brand is sold in every supermarket,
whereas in many other countries across the world,
the brand is sold only in urban centers. Evian generates
50 percent of its sales outside of France.

A bottle of Evian can reach three times the price of a
regular soft drink. The brand caters to a very narrow urban
market, and it therefore felt the need to unify its brand
communication in favor of something more global. It is in
this regard that Evian and BETC decided to pick up from
where the water babies left off and launched the “Roller
Babies” campaign. Health and purity of the Alps were
abandoned in favor of a single message, “Live young.”
This advertisement was broadcast around the world and
went on to become one of the most-watched ads ever
on ouTube with 254 million views, and held the Guinness
world record in this category at one point. It was the
advert
of the year for Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal,
and The Guardian. It was also the 20 percent most effective
ad ever (source: GfK France, Belgium, and Germany).
In Asia, however, consumers did not understand quite
well the relationship between Evian, seen as the pinnacle
of luxury, and babies on rollers dancing to hip-hop music.
BETC, then, had the idea of creating T-shirts with images
of baby bodies and launched a campaign showing people
of all ages dressed in these tees. With this, the advertisers
wanted to represent their brand as one that keeps adults
young at heart. The T-shirts were a huge success globally
and created the desired brand awareness.
In 2013, Evian launched “Baby & Me,” its third major
campaign with BETC since 1998. This commercial used
a baby-and-adult mirrored-dancing concept to highlight
their “Live Young” slogan. The idea behind this video was
to allow consumers to reconnect with their inner child, in
line with the brand promise.
Since 2009, Evian’s global brand communication
strategy has been focused on both digital and traditional
media. With the Web, Evian can target precisely
and reach masses easily, and is one of the top brands
viewed online. The brand has also always cultivated a strong presence outside the Internet. Since 2007, it has
carried out several promotional operations with limited
edition glass bottles signed by major designers, such as
Paul Smith in 2009, Issey Miyake in 2010, and Kenzo in
2014. Evian has also been credited with creating the first
Women’s Golf Open Championship. Today, it is considered
to be one of the major tournaments in Europe and is
broadcast live on television in 167 countries. Evian is the
official water brand for the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
The brand is also a sponsor for the Paris fashion shows.
In addition to this, Evian supports a variety of causes
linked to its brand territory. It is committed to the protection
of the environment through creation of schools of
water to help populations manage their water resources
in an autonomous and sustainable way. It has developed
partnerships with the Red Cross, and offers fellowships in
pediatrics, thereby affirming its positioning on health and
children.

QUESTION

1. Evian is a global mineral water brand that is sold to
millions of people across the world. Analyze the reasons
for its success.
2. What will be the strategic evolution of the brand’s
communication?
3. Can any other mineral water brand ever take over
Evian’s market share?

 
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