Supermarket chain ParknShop is removing bottles of Watsons water carrying motivational slogans on packaging. The packaging contains four different images showing Hong Kong’s landscape with messages such as "There is an attitude called persistence," "No matter we are together or apart, our roots are here," “Chasing dreams across mountains and valleys,” and "Lift your head and you can see a sunny day.”
Since then many netizens have linked the removal of the bottles to political sensitivities within Hong Kong. However, Watsons said it is simply adjusting its marketing tactics in response to market demand, and had decided to introduce two other types of bottle to ParknShop, including one in aluminium and another one without a label after they performed well in online sales.
A check yesterday also showed that Watsons Water’s Facebook page also no longer carried an image with the new packages as its main cover image. In response to a Facebook user, the brand explained that the image was removed as part of its marketing activities. The brand explained: “Two new products, including the Watsons PATHWATER and the Watsons PATHWATER, have been very popular since the launch of the two new products, especially since the supply in the Catering Market earlier[…] This is the practice of market sales and has nothing to do with the quality of any product.”
According to Hong Kong Free Press, a response from Watsons indicated that “Beautiful Hong Kong’ is one of the promotional themes for its green products this year.” The theme is said to underscore protecting the earth and the natural environment will make Hong Kong a more beautiful city.
Meanwhile, netizens have since been using social media to post photos with the hashtag Hong Kong is very beautiful in Cantonese #香港真係好靚 (#Hongkongisverybeautiful). Many have jumped on the bandwagon to share their love for the city. Currently the bottles are still available at two convenience stores such as 7-11 and Circle K.
Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top marketing stories.
We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's marketing development – for free.subscribe now open in new window