A nicely put together video by Evian featuring a little machine you attach to your fridge to order more water. At a Future Laboratory trends briefing last year, audience members were told how simply putting a smiling face on displays encourages interaction (not to mention obedience). But is this device everything it could be?
Firstly, it is self-evident that bottled water is a pain to buy in a shop, only then to have to lug it home. Far better for it to be delivered. But the purchase of bottled water (presumably more than one bottle, as suggested in the video) would naturally be part of a larger, weekly shop, involving other products. Taking it out of the larger shopping process could prove difficult, or worse, make people realise just how much they spend on a product that also happens to come out of the tap, for free.
Secondly, have there been any environmental considerations thought of here? From the video this isn’t ckear, but if you are ordering bottled water to be delivered by vehicle, you’re quickly burning a lot of carbon.
Thirdly, could the tactics deployed in this strategy have been smarter? Presumably the strategy here was to get people drinking more water by taking the hassle out of fetching it themselves. So what about something that could prompt the user. Something that perhaps tried to measure water consumption per person in the household, after keying in the relevant data, to prompt you when you haven’t had your daily suggested intake? Or, even smarter, what about some true M2M activity? We’ve talked about M2M previously, and many brands are still reluctant to engage. This could have been a nice way for Evian to dip their branded toe in the water (no pun intended), perhaps using scales in a smart fridge to see how much water is left, calculating how much time that will take to be drunk, and prompting the consumer with a call to action to order more. Currently this product seems to rely on people motivating themselves to order more.
Evian is a wonderful brand. They perhaps should have thought harder here.
Shell and Renault might not leap to mind as producers of the most ‘green’ products in the market right now. Hence why both companies are trying to alter this perception by touting their so-called ‘green credentials’. In the past week, one brand has come off better than the other in managing these expectations.
Though unquestionably adept when it comes to social media – having in the past month launched their products on the latest incarnation of the Sims game, as well as the ubiquitous Facebook integration – Renault has fallen foul of the ASA twice over a period of five weeks. At the end of March, seventeen people complained that the company’s strapline for their new electric car, that it was a ‘zero-emissions vehicle’, was a fallacy, as it “did not take the full life cycle of the vehicle into account… the ASA adjudicated that if the car was charged using energy sourced from the UK’s national grid, CO2 emissions would be produced as a result.” The article also mentions a new set of codes by Defra meant to combat ‘greenwashing’ tactics. Yesterday, Brand Republic reported the ASA had banned a second Renault advert, when one person complained “it was using French rather than UK figures to make the claim that one of its electric cars reduces CO2 emissions by least 90%.” The ASA concluded the ad was “misleading”.
Where Renault has stumbled, Shell has not, with those wonderful JWT minds producing a simple but visually engaging advertisement that immediately speaks to the relative cleanliness and quality of its fuel.
One luxury brand not usually associated with such serious things like sustainability is Aston Martin. But then neither was BMW before it recently unveiled its prototype electric car (see headline picture). Campaign magazine reported yesterday that the manufacturer “is looking for an agency to handle the launch advertising for its Cygnet city car”. The project is being managed in conjunction with Toyota, based on that company’s iQ car. “a large proportion of Aston Martin drivers also own a smaller car, such as a Mini or smart car, which they use for their inner-city commutes or to do the shopping. Reports suggest that the Cygnet will cost around £30,000 and feature a low-emission economical engine.” It’s an interesting decision. Although one might initially blanche at the idea of Aston Martin producing a more economical car, as the above quotation illustrates, it is in fact very on-brand. In this case, why sell to half of the consumer’s automobile product purchase, when you can sell to it all? The model will, initially, only be available to those that already own an Aston Martin.
Zeitgeist is most pleased to see efforts being taken by the those industries with an environmentally questionable past to prepare for a cleaner future. Moreover, who’d have thunk it, but electric cars can be cool and fast (although UK hybrid and electric sales are unfortunately slipping). It’s clear from Renault’s example though that people won’t tolerate a greenwash. Perhaps the open-source project “c,mm,n“, will help.