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Perrier Returns to the Airwaves

Sparking Water Brand Aims Younger With TV, Digital, Social-Media Push

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Venerable French sparkling water brand Perrier has set its sites on a younger consumer.

After a 14-year hiatus, Perrier is returning to the air waves with a major marketing campaign in North America. The effort includes a national TV buy, as well as a significant digital and social-media presence, including "Le Club Perrier," a popular series of videos on YouTube.

The effort is meant to attract a younger demographic of 24- to 35-year-olds, as well as raise awareness of the brand in general. Perrier's current demographic trends toward the 35- to 50-year-old age group.

"We thought it was really time to connect with a younger consumer, and to do that you have to break through the clutter," said Karen Ress, VP-general manager of premium brands at Nestle Waters, which owns and distributes Perrier. "We felt the time was right, with the portfolio of products we have and the great creative and strong messaging."

According to Kantar, Perrier typically spends just a few million, or less, on measured media each year. In 2010, the brand spent just over $1 million. Ms. Ress said that media spending, as a percent of the brand's overall budget, is up for 2011.

The TV campaign, "Melting" from Ogilvy & Mather, Paris, began running nationally in the U.S. this month, after first airing in Europe, Canada and three U.S. cities. It shows a city melting, while a woman races to get to a bottle of Perrier.

Le Club Perrier launched in conjunction with this month's TV push and has garnered just shy of 10 million views on YouTube. The series of six videos show a melting club with scantily clad men and women dancing and milling about inside. The brand is promoting it as "the first interactive YouTube experience that gets sexier, steamier and wilder as the number of viewers goes up." As more viewers watched the videos, additional videos were unlocked. The final video concluded with a mass of club-goers dancing with Perrier bottles in hand. Ogilvy & Mather handles creative for Perrier, while Zenith Optimedia is responsible for media.

While the Le Club Perrier videos could certainly be described by some as titillating, Ms. Ress said they're not meant to be overly sexual. "There's an element of sexuality, and that 's part of the brand's persona of being fun, daring, unique and modern. A club environment is really well known to this [younger] demographic," she said.

As for older Perrier consumers who might not frequent clubs, Ms. Ress said that alienating them is not an "overriding concern, quite frankly. What's common across all users of Perrier is the fact that they're social, like going out with friends and are fashion forward. This creative hits on all of those points in a non-offensive way."

Though it's still early days, Ms. Ress said results are promising. Awareness of the brand and consideration measures are up, she said.

"We do believe that in the U.S. and Canada, because we are not as well known, we probably have great opportunity. There's more upside in North America," Ms. Ress said. "We have fairly aggressive targets for 2011, and thus far we are on track."

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