Campaign: Belu impresses with a compostable bottle

In 2004, environmentalists Ben Goldsmith and Gordon Roddick joined forces with retailers such as Planet Friendly Products and NatureWorks to launch Belu Natural Mineral Water. It was the first supplier of bottled water to donate 100 per cent of net profits to water projects in Africa and India.

Campaign Bio Bottle
Client Belu Mineral Water
PR team Redhead PR
Timescale April-July 2006
Budget £14,000

After modest sales, Belu wanted to revitalise the brand via Bio Bottle - the UK's first compostable bottle, made from corn. It hired Redhead PR to handle stakeholder and media relations.

To announce the launch of Belu's compostable bottle, drive sales, and ultimately raise the profile of Belu's projects and ‘values'.

Strategy and Plan
The PR team emphasised that bio­degradable plastics are life-changing, particularly focusing this message at women shoppers. To achieve this, Redhead targeted columnists such as The Independent's consumer affairs correspondent Martin Hickman. It also urged the broadsheets to mention Belu in climate change feature articles. Meanwhile, trade media were alerted to Belu's benefits in relation to reducing landfill.

Redhead avoided gimmicks such as sending bottles to journalists, as it was deemed environmentally unfriendly. It enlisted spokespeople, such as Professor Adam Read, head of waste management at engineering and design company Hyder Consulting, to endorse the product. The PR team also selected summer music festivals, where the compostable bottles were handed out to young revellers.

Measurement and Evaluation
Initial coverage appeared in the Daily Express and London's Evening Standard, followed by a dramatic front-page editorial and page-two article in The Independent headlined ‘The bottle that heralds a plastic revolution'.

Additional national coverage included articles in The Times, The Guardian, Daily Mail and The Independent on Sunday. The story was also picked up in Russia, New Zealand, China and Japan. Trade coverage included a front page and feature in Bottled Water World.

Belu spokespeople made several radio and TV appearances, including spots on Sky News, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Newsnight. Consumer media interest included Time Out, New Woman, Eve, Waitrose Food Illustrated, The Big Issue and Marie Claire in Japan.

Since the launch of the Bio Bottle, Belu has been stocked at 258 Tesco stores across the UK. Its products are also now available at 44 Waitrose outlets throughout the country, and will soon be available at selected Asda stores.

According to Belu, the Bio Bottle has even roused the interest of the Prince of Wales, who has requested
further information about the water.

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