Evian and TSLA's collective wisdom

Other than having a great idea, what makes a campaign successful? The will to pursue that idea - with the agency not only suggesting the client do something daring, but the client then convincing its top management to take the risk.

Evian's issue at hand was the brand was very well known, but its sales weren't as high as it would have liked. Its objective was to drive the frequency of usage while strengthening brand awareness in Singapore.

Evian looked for an agency with local expertise, one that had a deep understanding of the market and the audience, and which would come up with an idea that reached out to the audience across all touch-points.

"We wanted an agency that could come up with an integrated marketing approach and had a solid understanding of the local culture," says Beatrice Van den Abeele, marketing manager for Southeast Asia, Danone Asia. That's when The Secret Little Agency (TSLA) came on board.

Around 45,000 Evian bottles were re-labelled to depict days of the week, which meant seven kinds of new bottles labelled from Monday to Sunday, with the knowledge Evian boasted a 100% unaided awareness in Singapore.

These bottles were then placed along with the regular bottles at all 7-Eleven stores and other retail outlets.

"In doing so, Evian was effectively able to use their bottles as a medium and a key piece in a national game that was created to play with all of Singapore," said Lee Hanyi, group creative officer of TSLA.

The game required consumers to form some combination of bottles (a Friday, Saturday and Sunday collection was called the weekend warrior; a set of five bottles named after each day was called the daily grind; and so on) which could be redeemed for prizes at a redemption counter.

And the redemption counter was not just any run-of-the-mill counter, but a whole French-style pop-up store that was created at Orchard Road in the heart of the city.

Was it a challenge to get approval for such an idea?

"A major one," says Van den Abeele. The concern at the global level was that while Evian wanted to boost its sales, associating Evian with names of the days would hamper its premium image in the market.

Another point of difference arose in the ideation of the pop-up store. While initially what TSLA proposed was simulating a real-life French street with three stores to reflect the French heritage of the brand, the idea was later changed to two stores resembling a French bakery.

The look and feel of the bakery was also an area which was extensively discussed between the client and the agency.

"While the idea was great we had to do away with the traditional feel of the bakery to make it more exclusive," Van den Abeele said.

Van den Abeele also had to convince the management on the game element of the campaign. "A game in Europe might not necessarily be considered ‘cool' as it is here. But we knew in a market like Singapore it would be a great way of engagement."

While all the ideas were eventually approved by the top management, a risk Van den Abeele took on her part was going ahead with the decision to replace the Evian name on the bottles. "I believed in the idea. I knew if it didn't work we would move on but because I was convinced about the idea, I was ready to take the risk," she said.

The overall results were impressive. Around 30% increase in sales island-wide in the month of April alone, more than US$105,000 worth of press coverage and 26% of Singaporeans drinking more water daily - Evian couldn't have asked for more.

For the full story behind the campaign, read the September issue of Marketing Magazine.