Coca-Cola wraps Chinese bottled-water brand in social responsibility

Buying Coca-Cola's bottled-water brand Ice Dew Chun Yue will give consumers a chance to "drink good, do good, feel good" by supporting efforts to provide clean drinking water to rural schoolchildren.

Buying Coca-Cola’s bottled-water brand Ice Dew Chun Yue will give consumers a chance to "drink good, do good, feel good" by supporting efforts to provide clean drinking water to rural schoolchildren.

Coca-Cola said this "socially responsible water branding," which rolled out on Thursday, is a global first for the company.

Sales will support the efforts of One Foundation to build water facilities in remote areas of provinces including Yunnan and Sichuan in China.

Pratik Thaka, Coca-Cola’s Pacific Group lead for creative and content excellence, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that although Ice Dew is an established bottled-water brand in China, Coca-Cola wanted to reach 20- to 35-year-old Millennials. The company also saw an opportunity to tie the brand to that demographic’s desire for social activism.

This group of people is smart, pragmatic, and quality-conscious, Thakar said, and they are concerned about what other people think of them.

"They like to think and discuss; they are very active on social media such as Weibo and WeChat about social issues," he said. "However, they are not very proactive in doing things to tackle those issues."

With the new brand platform, Coca-Cola is saying that as long as consumers are going to buy bottled water, which many people in China do for health reasons, they might as well do good by buying Ice Dew Chun Yue.

"This is not just a CSR project, but a real brand for Coca-Cola," Thakar said, adding that the project is significant for the entire company and has a "very high probability" of being extended to other markets.

Thakar compared the initiative to the AIDS-related Red campaign, which Coca-Cola supports along with a number of brands including Apple, Starbucks, and Bank of America. He added that Coca-Cola has experience purifying water, as well as deep distribution channels into even remote areas.

For the Ice Dew campaign, Coca-Cola China has partnered with BBH, digital agency Amber, and San Francisco-based design agency Ideo, which also has an office in Shanghai. Ideo designed the brand’s new bottle and the brand identity.

The retail price for Ice Dew Chun Yue is RMB 2, the same as competitors such as Nong Fu Spring.

"If you buy and drink Ice Dew Chun Yue Water, you are bringing clean water to people and kids in remote villages in China," Thakar said. "The marketing communications becomes a social movement. They don’t need to do anything physically, like scanning a barcode or filling a form. If you buy a bottle of water, we are doing something on your behalf. It fits the behaviors of the Chinese Millennials."

One Foundation was founded by Jet Li and includes notables such as Pony Ma and Jack Ma on its board.

This story originally appeared on the website of Campaign Asia-Pacific.  

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