Nestle Marathon water switch signals intent

LONDON - Nestle Waters UK is to sponsor the London Marathon through bottled-water brand Nestle Pure Life (NPL), rather than Vittel, it announced last week.

NPL, the first brand to be introduced to the bottled-water market under the Nestle brand, has enjoyed little marketing investment since its UK launch last year. How-ever, the sponsorship deal, which begins in 2010, reflects Nestle's growing backing for the brand.

Last year, 5bn litres of NPL were sold globally, making it the biggest bottled-water brand worldwide. The drink was rolled out in UK supermarkets last year, supported only by point-of-sale activity targeting families.

'It has been a considered approach, as we're in it for the long term,' says Rebecca White, head of marketing at Nestle Waters UK. 'It's not about making a fashion statement, it's about an everyday need.

We think that the accessibility of the brand demystifies what is a very simple product.'

Nestle has observed the pro-duct's performance in other markets, and White is convinced that NPL can become a significant player in the UK.

Although she declines to comment on the specifics of increasing the brand's global marketing efforts, White adds that investment will be based on performance.

The London Mara-thon sponsorship switch spells bad news for Vittel, however, which has sponsored the event for the past 11 years.

The brand's sales for the 12 months to October plummeted more than 50%, according to Nielsen, following a 30% decline over the same period in the previous year.

'Vittel has been part of a long-term strategy,' says White. 'The brand is about people on-the-go. It partners with the Tour de France and, if we choose to support it, activity would be based on this.'

Yet Andrew Marsden, marketing consultant and a former Britvic marketing director, believes that Vittel is in danger due to a shift in consumer behaviour.

'Vittel has never really been regarded as a quality product, and has always been second-tier,' he says. 'It now faces an even tougher challenge - especially as consumers appear to be moving towards water brands that add value, such as those in the "near water" or "water-plus" categories.'

Marsden adds that the Marathon sponsorship move presents a difficult challenge.

'The decision to re-priori-tise investment shows that Nestle has realised that Pure Life is its route forward,' he says. 'It is, however, risky, as no one has really heard of the brand in the UK.'

He continues: 'Many brands believe that sponsoring big-name events is the answer, but you have to develop relation-ships with consumers and trade on a local level. Sponsor-ship activity is not a substitute for proper marketing.'

Far from radically shaking up the market, NPL has endured a quiet existence since its launch. The sponsorship investment is a reward for steadily increasing sales, but it will take more than sponsorship activation alone for Nestle to grow NPL into a serious player.

 

 

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug