The source said that while it was common for large domestic agencies to work on a range of competing brands, the current situation was unusual for Danone. “Big Japanese agencies are equipped to handle conflict, and it is not usually a big issue in Japan, but for Danone it is weird,” the source said.
As of last year, Evian ranked seventh in the Japanese mineral water market, behind brands such as Suntory, Kirin, Volvic (also owned by Danone) and Crystal Geyser. According to Euromonitor, it holds three per cent of the market.
Yoshiyasu Okihira, a food and beverage sector analyst at Credit Suisse, described competition in the mineral water space as “tough”, stating that Evian was “still in the survival stage”.
Meanwhile, in July Danone called a review of its media planning and buying account in Japan, currently handled by Hakuhodo and believed to be worth an estimated US$32 million.