Craig Briggs
Apr 14, 2010

Coca-Cola deserves plaudits for adopting LOHAS position

Craigs Briggs, MD of Brandimage Asia, applauds Coca-Cola for their award-winning 'Crush-Eco' bottle in Japan.

Craig Briggs
Craig Briggs
I had the privilege of judging the AME awards in Shanghai last week, along with a fine assemblage of talented executives from around the region.

The event’s highest honour, the Platinum award, went to Coca-Cola Japan for its ‘Crush Eco’ water bottle.

When I first saw an entry from Coca-Cola Japan, I was sceptical. Having lived in Japan for many years, I recall more the marketing missteps of the Coca-Cola Company there (my favourites being the ‘No Reason’ campaign for brand Coke, and the embarrassingly-named Georgia Coffee variant, ‘Deeppresso’), than its marketing victories. But this Crush Eco is a sensation.

The very short story on this is as follows: Coca-Cola launches a new water brand in Japan, where local waters are a very low-interest category. They call the brand ‘I LOHAS’ (literally ‘Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability’), and package it in an environmentally sensitive PET bottle, with 40 per cent less plastic content. They source the water locally to reduce the carbon footprint further. The bottle crushes down easily for convenient recycling, and the company creates a campaign around this percussive action of crushing the bottle down. Events around the country add to consumer interest and involvement.

The brand goes from zero to 20 per cent share in six months, selling 200 million bottles, surpassing long-term market leader Suntory, and awakening this once sleepy category.

I feel the enormous success of this idea springs from its raw, bottom-up development. A consumer insight (LOHAS movement) drives product development (spring water), stimulating innovative product design (the bottle), splashing out to interactive communications and events. Often the ideas we bring to market are initiated in the other direction, driven by a communications concept, a media choice, a celebrity, or a new variant to drive more volume. But not Crush Eco, which is pure of heart, simple in execution, and magically engaging.

The bottle, its label, and its advertising are not exceptional. In fact, the bottle is rather plain. It’s the Prius of water bottles. But therein lies its beauty: a brand that wins on three levels - rationally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Love the green Coca-Cola logo on the label too. Bravo!

Got a view?
Email [email protected]

This article was originally published in the 8 April 2010 issue of Media.

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