smartwater and vitaminwater advertising


I saw another vitaminwater TV ad again during the NCAA tournament. It amazes me how overcomplicated advertising agencies can make things. I think the current advertising is stupid (I know  … I know  … they want to create a vivid demonstration of the “character” of the brand and come up with something wacky). Well. Stupid. And overcomplicated.

They had their campaign already in hand. Every time you pick up one of their bottles you have their campaign. I guess it is so simple it’s not possible (or good enough). Smartwater or Vitaminwater (same company).

So. Evolving a campaign straight from your product and packaging would have been too simple huh?  What do you guess the packaging company or whomever designed the labels and such says:

“Hey. Why waste money on a wacky campaign and some celebrities just to try and act bigger and cooler?  Why not just have some non celebrity cool people read our labels?”

smartwater inner_outerSomeone at the other side of the table just laughs and says “well. That’s why you’re not in advertising.” (The label guy scratches his head and says to himself “but isn’t packaging advertising too?  Oh well. They must know what they are talking about.”

(Fly on wall). “Buzz buzz buzz” (translated: stupid fucking humans. Even I could see the labels would make a great campaign even though I see things weirdly through my fly eyes).

Here is what I mean. The first time I read a smartwater bottle maybe 5 years ago I ended up buying the bottle of water simply because I wanted to read the bottle again. (and they don’t use caps when writing is a big hit on the McTague rating scale)

Smartwater. vapor distilled + electrolytes

side effects may include being called nerd, dork, geek, brainiac, know-it-all, smarty-pants, smart alek, bookworm, egghead, four-eyes, einstein or being mistaken for the I.T. guy.

may induce sudden and inexplicable aversion to all less forms of water. apply liberally and frequently to dry people.

So. In the company’s beginning their sole advertising, sole statement of character was to be found on the bottle itself. Brilliantly crafted. Brilliantly written. Every product had a slightly different slightly wacky always irreverent writing.

So I cannot believe the amount of money they waste on television advertising (or at least on what they have been doing). It’s like someone got a budget and then said “I need to spend it and do something wacky” and lost their minds in doing so.

If they gave me the budget I would be tempted to create a simple clean no-frills (or thrills) campaign reading the words already written on the bottles.

I mean c’mon. They fully understand how to present Smartwater & Vitaminwater as not just another water typed product in a sea of bottled water products. Now. These products aren’t particularly healthy (lots of sugar to cover up nutrient taste stuff) but they nailed the product’s strengths and introduced the brand in a really distinct way from others by focusing on the water’s functional benefits and communicating the value through packaging.Vitamin_water_2 And then they blew it with the ad campaign (because it just blends in with everything else out there). Don’t worry vitaminwater people, I slammed Heineken for doing the same thing.

On a last note. Here is what I believe is one of their newest products. Awesome writing. Think of the advertising you could do with this:

Vitaminwater spark

well .. well .. well …. look who’s got the clever coconut. now we are not saying this was too hard to figure out. and we’re not saying that if you drink this you won’t respond to “what’s up” with “good thank.” or that you won’t find yourself wandering around a parking lot thinking “this time it is really stolen.” so even though this bottle won’t make you smarter (blame your parents). it does include vitamins b12, c & e and choline (that’s “choline,” not the pool stuff), nutrients that can help your noggin. not that you really need it though … it’s not like you forgot to put the cap back on before reading this.

(the label is printed upside down on the package).

Awesome stuff. Awful advertising.

Written by Bruce