It's a welcoming gift of sorts being designed by two marketing executives for incoming Coca Cola CEO Muhtar Kent. But it's not likely the type of welcoming gift he was looking forward to receiving.
Mike DiMasso, creative director at the marketing consultancy DiMasso Goldstein, and Eric Yaverbaum, president of public relations agency Erico communications, are planning to deliver 1 million used water bottles stuffed with messages to new CEO Kent in July, when he takes over the reigns of the huge, international beverage company, according to a story written by Natalie Zmuda in today's Advertising Age.
DiMasso and Yaverbaum's gift to Coke CEO Kent is part of a campaign they call "Tappening." The campaign's goal is to encourage consumers to drink tap water instead of bottled water, along with persuading consumers to buy reusable water bottles with messages on them like "Think Global." "Drink Local."
"We are bringing our marketing experience to bear, and therefore, people are viewing us differently," DiMasso told Ms. Zmud. "This is a public-education initiative dressed up as a brand to change the context in which Coke does business."
Coca Cola Co. is the biggest bottler and marketer of bottled water in the world.
The two marketing execs told Ad Age they chose Coke because it's the biggest bottled water marketer. "They're (other major bottled water marketers like Pepsi and Nestle) all worthy targets but Coke is the biggest, and one thing you learn is to start big," DiMasso says.
DiMasso told Advertising Age that Coke already knows about the plan to deliver the 1 million empty plastic water bottles with the messages inside to Kent in July. In fact, he said Coke has told him they will gladly recycle the plastic bottles upon delivery. The campaign has thus far collected 10,000 empty plastic water bottles towards their goal of 1 million.
The overall "Tappening" tap water campaign is designed to build brand awareness among consumers for tap water. The campaign wants consumers to stop buying bottled water, and instead drink tap water and buy and use reusable water bottles for away from home drinking.
(Read more about the campaign at the Tappening website here.) (You also can read more about the anti-bottled water, pro-tap water movement here.)
The "Tappening" campaign was launched in November, 2007. Among its activities is the selling of reusable water bottles emblazoned with sayings like "What's Tappening" and "Think Global." "Buy Local." Since November, nearly 40,000 of the logo bottles have been sold via the website.
Their are other anti-bottled water--or pro-tap water, depending on your position--initiatives going on the the U.S., along with the "Tappening" campaign. (Do a search at the top of the blog using the key words "bottled water" and "bottled water backlash," and you can read some stories we've done on the issue.)
The pro tap water, anti-bottled water coalition is a diverse one. It includes numerous city governments in the U.S., consumers, community organizations, environmental groups and businesses that produce and market reusable water bottles and tap water filtration systems.
It's a good thing Coke's new CEO Kent will have a nice big corner office at the company's corporate headquarters. It takes lots of space to hold 1 million empty plastic water bottles. We also wonder if he just won't be able to resist at least reading one or two of the messages in the bottles? After all, you don't generally get to become CEO of a multi-billion dollar company without being the curious sort.
Read the full Advertising Age story here.