Monday, August 18, 2008

red rover red rover, send a VITAMIN WATER vending machine right over (please?)

To add to my Christmas list already equipped with a bedazzled sweater vest, I'd like to top the list with a Vitamin Water vending machine. Although I consider myself intensely hilarious, this is not a joke. Aside from the fact that Vitamin Water is pretty much amazing, if you've ever seen a Vitamin Water vending machine you know what I'm talking about. The look is so cool...and yes, trendy. I said it. I love trends.

(Side note, my mom recently started reading my blogs...scary...but she's amazing and she gets me everything I want since I'm an only mom, please bundle this up with a fragile sticker and send it on over. You mustn't completely fill it with Vitamin Water..maybe just half. Thanks.)

I must be honest with all of you.. I only started drinking Vitamin Water because of their marketing. Being in the industry, I had to give props to Vitamin Water (aka Glacuea, aka Coke) and they deserved to sell an extra bottle based on their hard work. After doing research on their grassroots marketing, I am beyond inspired with their tactics. And you know I did my research..

First is their website. No wonder I love this stuff...they have a section labeled "Our Friends" and Carrie Underwood who is smoking hot and a great singer is one of them. My fave is Donovan McNabb..the quarterback of the greatest football team..Go Eagles! I'd love to be friends with either, so since I drink the water, can I call them cronies?

Check it colors and layout and other fun things are countless. They really found what their target audience was into and hit a homerun..but not a Barry Bonds kind of a homerun..a legitimate one. They have Vitamin Water buddy icons for instant messenger. If you are saying "who the hell would have a Vitamin Water icon?" please add me to your buddy list. Yup, I do. And I'd venture to say a number of others are sporting it as well.

Let's move on to Direct Mail (DM). For anyone that's ever dabbled in Direct Mailings, you know how expensive they are. Just to create a 5 x 7 postcard on 80 lb. card stock and mail out is ridiculous in price. You are usually paying for a mailing list, the printing, packaging, not to mention the postage which seems to increase with every baby Britney Spears has. Their DM piece is prodigious. Not only is it a large boxed mailer (I won't even guess on the weight and postage), but they included 2 of their biggest competitors...Red Bull and Monster...sitting along side Vitamin Energy so the consumer can compare on their own. I looked for numbers on the ROI of the campaign, but came up empty handed.

Since I looked so amazing at the SATC movie premiere on the maroon (not red) carpet, let's tackle the subject of product placement. Not only were Vitamin Water bottles seen throughout the movie, but they did a number of print and tv ads prior to and even flavored/labeled a drink after Carrie called "XXX" with the tag "Get Carried Away." Genius.

Vitamin Water teamed up with Mobile Marketing Agency EnMobile to tap the Generation Y consumers and increase brand awareness. They created a text message campaign where the winner could win an entire year of Vitamin Water. I wonder if they'd let the winner trade it in for a vending machine?

Balls to the wall marketing. Literally. We all know how unbalanced NY fans are about their hometown teams, right? Vitamin Water's media agency placed a billboard of David Wright next to a billboard of Big Papi DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM YANKEE STADIUM. No need to reread, I'll repeat...they posted two billboards of Wright and Ortiz across from Yankee Stadium with this headline "Best in NY". Are you kidding me. I feel like Michael Phelps saying I'm at a loss for words even though I keep talking!

Their tv ads are pretty catchy too. Just the mental picture of Shaquille O'Neil as a horse jockey is an oxymoron but they gave us an actual picture that aired during the Super Bowl. If you want to see the ad, check out favorite part is the kid in the stands picking his nose. Nothing to do with Vitamin Water OR horse races, but I'm a fan nonetheless.

Deep Focus is the Interactive Marketing Solutions Agency Vitamin Water chose to test a brand awareness campaign via the social web, where the idea was the distribute ideas virally through such mechanisms as Top Friends. In a period of 8 days, they ran a campaign where you could send a "virtual drink" to a friend and within this time frame, they saw approximately 10 million "buy a drink" actions on the web. I got too tired to find out what the "buy a drink" was all about, but 10 million hits is commendable for website!

Vitamin Water's retail sampling program is known as "hydrology". More than 100 highly energized, company-trained "hydro-logists" promoting the brand. Not to be confused with Abercrombie and Fitch "brand ambassadors" only wearing flip flops and Abercrombie cologne. Seriously, have you seen them? Nothing else.

Other notable faves to give Vitamin Water kudos on:

On every stop of the Carnival Tour, Carrie Underwood takes the Electric Yellow-colored Energy flavor to continue the branding efforts. How often do you see a drink named after the headliner? Adoring fans spend $47 on a pink wife-beater that says "before he cheats". I'm sure they'll spend a few bucks on a refreshment.

Air Tran now carries Vitamin Water as their in-flight drink and has it printed on the napkins and ticket jackets. I flew Air Tran for the first time a month ago and was jazzed to have a Vitamin Water on the flight! (Be sure to ask for a full one or they'll poor you a dinky cup that splashes everywhere.)

Vitamin Water set up a sampling station at popular spring break destination, Panama City, Florida. Behind a tiki bar you could be served a free 10 ounce sample to quench your thirst..or hangover. --"journey of passion, courage and hydration." Need I say more?

My personal fave: "Every day needs more" is another benefit of the drink. "Like enabling the visually challenged to focus better at strip clubs." This is part of their marketing and I love a sense of humor.

Another ad displays a plumber fixing what looks to be a desperate housewives' sink. Ad reads "Drink Power. Lay More Pipe."

Vitamin Water's advertising agency as of 2/2/07 is Berlin Cameron United so a big round of applause to them and everyone else that has played a role in Vitamin Water's wild success. My fridge is always stocked (waiting for my vending machine) and my favorite is Defense.

And I am an only child, but was just kidding about being spoiled. Had to throw that caveat in case my dad started reading this too :)