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Vittel: It Must Be the Water. And the Budget.

Vittel is a brand of bottled mineral water from the northeastern French spa town of the same name. Sounds quaint, but the brand has since 1992 been owned by the not-so-quaint ginormous multinational Nestlé.

That helps to explain why ginormous multinational ad agency Ogilvy and Mather France has produced  these well-crafted, quirky, faux-quaint spots as part of a new ad campaign for Vittel, “It Must Be the Water.” And they’re big, really big.

Are you a Numptee?

Numptee is the charmingly clueless character starring in Yorkshire (UK) Water’s new public education campaign, “Bin it, don’t flush it.”

You can’t help but smile at his silly antics though they spotlight a serious problem: sewer blockages and flooding, half of which are caused by Numptee and his buds putting inappropriate items down the drain. From campaign headquarters at yorkshirewater.com,

Numptee, did you just put that cooking fat down the sink?

Numptee, did you just put that cooking fat down the sink?

Yorkshire’s sewers are being abused and it’s causing all kinds of problems. You wouldn’t believe some of the things we find down the sewer – nappies, false teeth, fat, Christmas trees and even a Spacehopper! As funny as that sounds, all of these things can cause the sewer to stop working and this can lead to flooding.

Hmmm, are we talking about you? You might be a “Numptee” if:

  • you’re one of the 40% of people who dump fats, oils and grease down the sink
  • you’re among the 25% who think it’s OK to put items like cotton buds, nappies or sanitary products down the toilet.

Now, Numptee’s handlers at Yorkshire Water aren’t idiots so naturally the campaign is multi-media and backed by numerous social-media channels. You can follow the red-lipped phenom on Twitter (@MrNumptee) because…

By following Mr Numptee on twitter you’ll be able to see if we are dishing the dirt in your neighbourhood and take a sneaky peak at some of the unusual things that block up our sewers – yes that’s right we really do find strange things down there including one particular problem with knickers!!!

Where's Numptee Jr.'s dirty nappie headed?

If you’re like me, you don’t want to miss a single episode on Yorkshire Water’s YouTube channel. Contest-entering types can give their creative interpretations of exactly what kind of creature Numptee is (see the WIN tab) with top entries receiving cinema tickets, where…that’s right, Numptee trailers will be playing!

I found a lot of interesting information on the campaign’s web pages, including a neat tip to make “Bird Cakes” out of waste fats (the recipe is here.)

Numptee? Bin there, done that. You: don’t do it.

*Britspeak Glossary for Americans!

Bin: Trash can
Cotton Buds: Q-tips or cotton swabs
Knickers: underwear
Nappie: Diaper
Numptee: Dolt, or idiot
Spacehopper: Child’s sit-on bouncing toy

Retro Water Advertising Film Fest Part 2

Part Two: And now, a word from our water sponsors from decades past! We’ve been interrupted by advertising for drinking water for at least a half a century. Following, more of of “the way we were.”

Brita Filter Ad from 1989 using the then-relevant “Funny British Guy” marketing tactic.

1986 Soviet dance party featuring Michael Jackson’s “Killer” and Varska Mineral Water.

Combine the 1986 coolness of Flashdance and Pumping Iron, then add Evian water.

“Nothing else will do” but Perrier in this jazzy, stylish-in-’87 animated spot.

Hey, Culligan Man, It’s 1984 and “the future is calling for you!” Little did we know!

Retro Water Advertising Film Fest, Part 1

And now, a word from our water sponsors from decades past! We’ve been interrupted by advertising for drinking water for at least a half a century. Following, a taste of “the way we were.”

1958 Perrier Party, the only thing missing is the Rat Pack and Vegas imagery.

Technically for Hamms Beer, but includes a “rain dance” for the beer that’s “refreshing as the land of sky blue water.” (1950s-vintage)

1978 Arrowhead Water tastes like “mountain snow, not chlorine!”

Those naughty French marketers! Perrier’s hysterical, risque 80’s spot promoting their larger bottle.

Bo Derrick look-alike and hipsters on the tennis court for Perrier in ’82

If I Could Place Ads on a Bottle

With demand dropping and prices with it, the bottled water industry needs new business models, and UK-based Soak Media is promoting one tried-and-true idea. Borrowing a page from ad-supported free media, Soak is passing out free ad-laden bottled water to Londoners this summer.

Soak Media friendly staffer

Soak Media friendly staffer

Billing itself as “the refreshing way to talk to Londoners”, the site urges advertisers to…

Get hot and bothered London commuters to engage with your brand by advertising on one of the deliciously cold bottles of mineral water we’ll be handing out across the London commuter network this summer. And don’t forget: this summer’s going to be an absolute scorcher!

Soak Media’s video details their right-time, right-place strategy during “London’s hottest months of July and August.” The company will also do “leaflet tip-ons and bottles moulded to any shape.” And don’t forget, the water is “handed out by our very friendly staff” and enjoys “50 minutes in-hand time.” (And an eternity in a landfill after that?)

Oddly the video ends with the cryptic and vague statement, “all our profits go to charitable causes.” Guess I’ll let that one soak in for a moment.

The Benefits of Big: Giant Campaign from RWE

How can you change your negative image if you’re a often-hated, ginormous European energy company whose sheer size and power terrifies the regular folks? Why not channel that feel-good-about-monsters character, Shrek?

A colossal tidal power project

A colossal tidal power project

RWE group’s new European ad campaign does just that, and like those roller-skating Evian babies, you can’t help but fall for this Shrek-ish lumbering ogre regardless of how you feel about the company or its operations. The ugly but lovable “energy giant” crosses the idyllic countryside, making energy happen in unusual but environmentally-sensitive ways with the tagline, “It can be so easy to make big things happen. When you’re a giant.”

(Don’t miss the ending, where our friendly beast lights up the city with a new approach to hydropower!)
The charming song in the clip is “I Love the Mountains” by Houaida, an up-and-coming German star. (You can download the song mp3 via the RWE website.)

A Moving Tribute from Brazil

Here’s an advert from March 2009 spotlighting World Water Day that likely to make you feel seasick! From Tribuna de Minas, a newspaper in Juiz de Fora, Brazil by ad agency Trópico Propaganda. (Click to view it full size for maximum headaches or tipsiness!)

Novelty aside, there’s actually something to be learned from these types of visual illusions. This article from the May 2008 Scientific American, The Neuroscience of Illusion, discusses the scientific value of visual illusions and shows how tricking the eye can reveal the inner workings of the brain.

Evian, The New Fountain of Youth

Tough times in the bottled water business call for tough tactics–like selling the age-old quest for eternal youth. Evian’s new ad campaign tells us to “live young (TM)!” Who knew that the mythical Fountain of Youth, that legendary spring that restores youth to those who drink from it, was right there on my grocer’s shelf all along! I thought Evian water was expensive, but compared to botox, plastic surgery or Satan-soul-selling, it’s a live-young (TM) bargain!

This new fountain of youth reveals itself in the form of jaunty hip-hoppin’ roller-skating babies. I still refuse to buy the stuff but let’s be honest, these wee-ones on wheels are irresistably, adorably funny.

 

Where’s the breathless press release, you ask? Why, it’s here, informing us that stunt-skating tots are “the ultimate expression of Evian brand values, including origin, health and youth.”

And it gets better!

“To Evian, youth is not a matter of age, but a mindset – a youthful mindset that is optimistic, believes that everything is possible, and is curious and eager to discover the world – much like that of a child,” stated Jerome Goure, vice president of marketing for Danone Waters of America, the exclusive importer and marketer of Evian in North America.  “The babies in this campaign exemplify this attitude and the celebration of adding life to your years.”