Opportunities I mean – you wait forever for the one you want and then 2 come along at the same time… it’s certainly been like that lately, hence my absence from writing.

We partnered with Estethica for their press day at the London May Fair hotel on 11th November. Estethica is officially the British Fashion Council’s eco sustainable initiative and it’s now in its seventh season. During that time it’s evolved to become the epicentre (and the collective conscience) for London’s ethical fashion industry and it was an honour that they asked AQUAPAX (the conscience of the bottled water industry) to partner with them for this prestigious and premium quality event.

The day was a tremendous success showing there’s no need to compromise on design or style while remaining true to one’s personal and professional ethics. Despite some seriously ‘off-piste’ questioning at the start of the open press session, everyone agreed it was sensible for Estethica to maintain a separate stance to the core BFC press day, where they otherwise risk being marginalised by the big name classics.

I even managed to meet my son for a ‘pie and mash’ dinner near London Bridge later in the evening, which is something we haven’t done for a long time.

As if that wasn’t enough activity for one day, I’d started the day in Lewes (East Sussex), where the students at Sussex Down College were presenting the output of their Digital Media ‘motion graphics’ module. These incredibly talented individuals used AQUAPAX as their challenger brand to support with a series of viral ads, created to spread the word of our more sustainable mineral water against the corporate communications might of ‘the big boys’. At this point I’d very much like to publicly thank both the students and their tutors, particularly Sue Bamford and their professional animation tutor Sarah Bird – her work is awesome if you have the time…

The videos are now posted on you tube and if you search for AQUAPAX, you’ll see there’s quite a quirky collection gathering… (or click & follow this link) They range from seriously professional to… well, make up your own mind. Some students got a little close to simply condemning plastic bottles as opposed to actually promoting AQUAPAX, but as the group were kind enough to do this work for my brand, I wasn’t going to try and influence or control their output.
As a brand owner, this loss of control to a group of students could be perceived a brave (or foolish) decision, but I believe a brand exists in an open form, to be embraced (or not) and ultimately shaped by its consumers. How else would our brand have ended up within a ‘monty python’ style wacky but imminently watchable video?

Sure advertising can try to control consumer perception of a brand, but as a marketer, I’m conscious that brand interaction becomes more intimate once the ‘buy’ decision has been made; during the consumption phase or post purchase remorse as we were taught when I was a student.

Appreciating this isn’t a normal experience with a consumable like bottled water, it’s the iconic AQUAPAX design – thanks again SunHouse – which helps us build an emotional connectivity with our customers. As the retail price points for AQUAPAX and the plethora of plastic bottled stuff are broadly the same, our design led brand image has become our real brand attribute.

Anyone who’s read my blog (or tried our water) knows our product quality is superior but providing it can at least live up to and reinforce initial consumer perception of our brand promise (which it absolutely does) I believe that’s a more important brand attribute than me trying to tell consumers what their brand perception should be. Perception is reality as my friend Chris used to say.

Our French distributors have a slightly different perspective to my ‘let it be’ approach and you can see their incredibly professional animated video film in the same ‘you tube’ space if you type in our brand name, or follow my tweet link on the right. I respect the wonderfully collaborative creative work from Drinkyz and their partners at Scorpio Music and love both the funky imagery and the music itself; yet at the same time, there’s a shorter video from a Sussex Downs student called David Rosser which absolutely nails brand AQUAPAX in just 15 seconds!

Speaking of busses (I was in the beginning) I’m off to see Vegan Routes tomorrow in Brewer St. Soho, where AQUAPAX is the beverage of choice in their fine new vegan restaurant on board a renovated and quality converted 1967 Routemaster bus… Maybe we can meet there for lunch one day 🙂