When Perrier began marketing its new plastic bottles last year, it opened up a whole new world for consumers. Fans of the naturally carbonated water could now bring it to the beach, pool, and other places where the brand's famous glass bottle might have banned.
To fully leverage the plastic bottle's portability, Cone recommended outdoor events at New York's Central Park and Miami's South Beach section.
"They see New York and Miami as markets that set trends for their category," says Bill Fleishman, EVP of Cone's brand marketing group, about Perrier's ties to the two locales.
Cone also decided that a celebrity spokesperson would be necessary to appeal to the target audiences: hip urbanites and suburban moms. Cone sought a person with high pop-culture visibility to bridge the gap between both demographics. It decided that Ted Allen, the food and wine expert on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, would be the perfect fit. "His celebrity really gave us an opportunity to speak to both," Fleishman says.
The PR team also decided to pitch consumer lifestyle publications on a national level and food editors on a local level.
Allen, Perrier, and Cone came up with the Perrier Guide to Summer Entertaining. It included Allen's original recipes for non-alcoholic beverages made with the sparkling water, as well as party tips. Perrier sent the guide to both short- and long-lead media and handed them out at the events.
For the event in Central Park, Cone decorated the Naumburg Bandshell to make it look like a summer lounge. A 15-foot refrigerated truck bearing Allen's image led the way for presentations, product sampling, and giveaways. A juggling troupe also was on-hand to demonstrate the sturdiness of the plastic bottle. Allen shared tips for about 45 minutes.
In South Beach, Cone set up shop at the Clevelander Hotel, a beachside property with a public pool and outdoor restaurant. Again, Cone provided samples of Allen's recipes, but it also played up the elegance of the product by using the bottle as flower vases on tables.
"The campaign was an extreme success from both an awareness and sales perspective," says Mike Hoynes, senior marketing manager for Nestl? Waters North America, via e-mail. "The campaign gave us a lift in overall sales of the brand in both the plastic and glass business."
The New York event attracted about 5,000 people, while about 3,000 attended the one in Miami. Perrier experienced a 20% sales increase, and research conducted at the events showed that 70% of nonusers said they would consider buying the plastic bottle. In addition, 82% of current consumers said they would consider using Perrier in new ways now that it's in a plastic bottle. At the events, 5,000 samples were distributed, as well as 9,000 recipe books. The Perrier website experienced a 400% increase in hits, and the efforts garnered more than 100 newspaper placements and more than 35 broadcast interviews, including placements on the NBC affiliates in both areas.
Perrier and Cone intend to expand their efforts this year. And Allen will be along for the ride. "Now that the plastic bottle has been successfully launched, Ted will be working with us on some new programs that will allow us to impact our total Perrier business moving forward," says Hoynes.
PR team: Nestl? Waters North America (Greenwich, CT) and Cone (Boston)
Campaign: Perrier: Perfect Anytime, Anywhere
Time frame: November 2003 to September 2004