The mineral water industry is really interesting when it comes to branding. It is really hard to differentiate yourself on the product itself as we saw it in our blind test article. Because of that, all of the among take an even stronger importance. Branding, is here the key stone of what is build by the brand to create an image of the brand for the customer.
In the branding game, Evian has always been an interesting player. When some waters are playing the card of the product benefit, others are playing the purity card by linking it to the nature, among many classic choices. But Evian is doing something quite different since they base their add on….babies! Yes, babies. Why?
Actually, when you think about it, it is pretty logical. Babies are young, full of energy, bright, pure and innocent. Isn’t it perfect for water? They actually want to make the same link between the brand and the product in the customer mind. They want Evian and its water to be seen as a baby for this reasons. Their slogan, “Live Young” is coherent with this, but was their positioning even before with the “Approved by your body as a source of youth” line.
Evian is playing the babies card for several years now. It started in 1998 with the following famous ad:
This ad for the time was quite surprising! They totally separate from the product itself and want simply to convey an image! When you look at the advertisement, in a sense it do not give you the will to drink water, not like some soda ad for example focusing on the freshness in a desert or whatever. Here, it is all about branding. No product benefit, not a word on the taste, but only on what they started to do: the “Live Young” idea.
The previous ad was a real success and in 2009 they come back on this strategy with the now famous “Roller babies” ad:
In this one, it is clear that Evian want to build its brand identity among the ideas of vitality, young, life. This time you see the product, but not display as a drink. It is used in a different manner, simply to show the bottle so people can picture and memorize it. Once again, the goal is not to make you want to drink water, but simply to transmit an image they want to associate with Evian. They want you to smile, remember the ad, show it to friends since it is the beginning of the age of social media in 2009. Evian dynamise and make you stay young. This is the message.
In 2013, Evian decides to continue with this successful strategy based on babies and comes out with a new ad:
Once again, this campaign in a HUGE success! They keep what made the previous one working, playing on the babies to give you a smile, the music to give dynamic, a fun side to go viral on social medias. Once again, there is no bottle of Evian showed on the advertisement: they focus on the branding, on the brand identity.
Boosted by all these success, in 2016, the new Evian campaign is based on…(try to guess?)…. YES! BABIES!
It is a bit early to say if this one will be a success, but everything tend to go in this direction.
In terms of branding, Evian has been a model with this campaigns. In an industry where product differentiation is an almost unsolvable challenge, they decided to focus on the identity they want to convey to customers. They are sending a message, controlling as much as they can for it to be well received by the public.
It is interesting to see the evolution between the ads. First obviously you can notice the evolution of the technology, the face of the babies in the Roller Babies one for example seeming a bit roughly made compared to the last one! An advantage for Evian of staying consistent is the theme of campaign is to be able to make it even better each time. They can analyse it, understand why it is a success, understand what they did right, what they did wrong, what is today’s culture need to be adapted, and the customer is not lost since he totally associate this image with Evian now. It is like a feed Evian is now giving to customers every 3-4 years to stay at the top, a kind of series in a sense! With this analyse, we can understand the evolution. After the roller babies, Evian decided in 2013 to start showing adults, in order for people to identify themselves. It is like giving them a all the tools (the music, the babies, the idea of life and even themselves), and waiting for them to build with the tools what Evian intended. The missing element in the 2013 ad, was once again the bottle, that they might have considered as not useful to display here.
In 2016, we can see that the bottle come back in the ad, and in a pretty obvious way. We could think that this shift has been decided because Evian finally noticed that showing the bottle will ad something to the brand identity. In fact, it is probably not the case. Evian just launched a new bottle, and showing it become both an element renewing the brand and a way to say to the customer: “yes, this is the Evian you know even if the bottle is different”. Now that this messaged have been carried on by this campaign, I would not be surprised not to see the bottle in their next campaign!
Their next campaign… Will it be based on babies again? The risk for Evian is to grow people tired of these babies campaigns after campaigns, but they have many tools to continue doing it without having this risk becoming reality. The things is that “babies” is actually a really large theme since they can use them in every situations! Yes, we just saw them doing surf and rollers! What could be next? Will we see the babies skiing on steep slopes in the Alps, the homeland of Evian? What do you think?