On a recent trip to the cinema I was forced into buying a bottle of Drench, a new brand of water launched by Britvic. This strikes me as one of the best examples I have seen this year of "sizzle branding": hoping that sexy design and communication will make up for a lack of any real product innovation.
Britvic claim that Drench is "The first new, exciting and highly innovative brand in water." Yet buy a bottle and you'll struggle to find this innovation. It has a nice graphic design, catchy name and clever communication, including an art competition that champions creativity. But, you've guessed it, "where's the sausage" of product differentiation?!
- The Drench bottle is nothing new, and if anything I found the spout harder to open and drink from than other brands.
- There's no pack copy to grab your attention on the back-of-pack a la Innocent.
- Worst of all, there's no authentic product story on which the brand is built, a real weakness versus the leading water brands. Sure, you'd struggle to tell these apart in blind testing, but they have product heritage and provenance that give you "permission to believe" the brand is worth paying more for.
Drench is also a good example of how not to market to a youth audience. Britivic claim that the brand is the first to be "solely youth targeted" and "a signal of being 'in the know' that will be part of the daily kit of students." However, isn't Drench trying too hard to be cool, wearing its youth-focused strategy on its sleeve? It lacks the authenticity and credentials of brands that really connect with young people, such as Red Bull, Diesel, Apple and Nike. Each of these brands have a distinctive personality and set of emotional values, but these are supported by differentiated product features and attributes.
5 minute workout: what product story do you have that supports your brand's emotional values? Some places to look for such a story include ingredients (Volvic), provenance (Evian) and place of consumption (San Pellegrino).