Behind the Campaign: Voss Breaks First Major Consumer Push

Effort Is Also First Work From New Shop Addiction Following Open-Call Pitch

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A print ad that 's part of the new Voss effort.
A print ad that 's part of the new Voss effort.

Voss is hoping its new campaign will convince consumers that it's more than just a pretty bottle. The Norwegian premium bottled-water company is launching "Look Deeper," its biggest campaign in years, as well as its first major campaign targeting consumers.

In the past, the brand has focused on food and beverage professionals, said Voss CEO Jack Belsito. That's led to a strong on-premise presence for the brand and a latent opportunity in the take-home business. "We have a high level of credibility for occasions around thoughtful dining," Mr. Belsito said. "We believe there's an opportunity on the retail, take-home side of the business to create some of that credibility."

The new campaign pulled together a cast of "interesting people with interesting things to say" at a dinner party, said Mike Huddleston, president of Addiction, New York. The group included a professional skateboarder, a Gap menswear designer, a Nike marketing director, wardrobe stylist and celebrity hair colorist, among others. Chef Nate Appleman handled the menu for the party, where all of the creative assets for the campaign were shot.

"Voss has a reputation for being a premium brand, but no one knew much about the brand, except that it was a great-looking bottle," Mr. Huddleston said of the "Look Deeper" tagline, pointing out the brand's environmental and social-responsibility efforts, as well as the Voss Foundation's work in sub-Saharan Africa. Likewise, the campaign features people who are not necessarily celebrities but "have a deeper side to them and lead fascinating lives."

Measured media spending on the brand has been negligible in recent years, according to Kantar, but Mr. Belsito says that 's about to change. Addiction, New York, was brought on as Voss' agency of record earlier this year, following an open-call pitch.

"We'll probably be more active as we go forward," Mr. Belsito said, though he declined to share specifics on marketing spending. "You'll see us trying to engage with the consumer on a consistent level."

And though the bottled water category was hard hit during the recession, Mr. Belsito said it has rebounded. The bottled water segment saw volume increase 3.5% in 2010, according to Beverage Marketing Corporation. Voss, which counts the likes of Fiji, Evian and Perrier as competitors, is expected to reach $40 million in sales this year.

The campaign, which will run throughout 2011, includes print and digital buys, as well as social media effort centering around Facebook. There are also plans for a series of dinner parties in Norway, London and New York.

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