If you were on Instagram or Facebook in the late summer months and are plugged into the health, beauty, and fitness community, you may have come across the hashtag #asmarterwaytohydrate. “After a good workout, there’s nothing like a little recovery! Adding Smartwater+ to your water is a smarter way to hydrate,” wrote The DC Fashion Fool on Instagram to his 55,000 followers, along with photos of him in workout gear pouring the brand’s new supplement into his bottle.
Other social media posts highlighted Smartwater+’s features:
“Working out and sticking to my routine helps to keep my days productive when on the road. And there’s nothing like a little boost of iron and B12 after a tough workout – so I’m loving these new Smartwater+ enhancers,” said Instagram influencer Leslie Haas to her 20,000 followers.
Why were all of these fitness influencers talking about using Smartwater+ as part of their workout routines? For the first time, Coca-Cola (which owns Smartwater) came to Amazon’s Custom Ads team for a product launch exclusively in Amazon’s store. Coca-Cola brought a product idea to the Custom Ads team, “and from there we went on to help build the new product’s look, feel and tone,” said Joseph Delhommer, the Creative Director for Custom Ads at Amazon.
The campaign, called “A Smarter Way to Hydrate”, is made up of custom 15-second animated videos, premium sample boxes sent to 100 influencers, a custom landing page, and Amazon DSP and Streaming TV ads across Amazon. On the landing page, customers can discover more ways to use the types of Smartwater+, as detailed through vibrant animated videos.
There’s “uplift”, which shows a character enjoying the supplement while working at a stationary bike desk. “Move like nobody’s watching with the power of vitamin B3, B12, and almost as much caffeine as a cup of coffee,” the text reads. For “beauty”, a character is fixing her hair in the mirror, as the text instructs: “Start your day with a little vitamin C to glow-up that supports collagen formation.” And finally, “recovery” shows both characters on a couch, cheers-ing their drinks.
“We maximized budget with smart channel choices to tell a simple product story about Smartwater+ and how it fits into a healthy lifestyle,” Delhommer said. “Our influencer sample boxes were a new tactic for the Custom Ads team.”
Rather than launch this product with a big TV campaign, or through more traditional means of advertising, Coca-Cola wanted to try something different.
According to Matthew Tarallo, who leads Amazon’s global relationship and business for the Coca-Cola Company, the brand wanted to launch this product on Amazon because of the reach and validation the store can provide.
“Consumers have their journeys and they shop on Amazon,” Tarallo said. “There’s an incredible amount of research and reach and an incredible amount of awareness and education for intent to purchase. Our customers are engaging on the site.”
From there, the brand wanted to make sure it had the right messaging to reach Smartwater consumers and helped drive brand awareness.
“Amazon’s Custom Ads team was great – they provided a lot of different options. We built this from the bottom up in terms of launching,” Tarallo said. “We’ve never done an influencer programme like this before. We want to do custom packaging, custom landing display. Let’s do everything from the ground up and do something new.”
Since launching in mid-August, Smartwater has been impressed with the customer response to the campaign.
“A lot of the reviews we’ve had and a lot of the feedback that we’ve captured from the influencers, in their comments, was, ‘Hey, this is really fun we didn’t know this was there.’ So, it was a lot of really positive reaction,” Tarallo said. “It’s a fun creative direction that is not your traditional approach that we’ve had in terms of past activations. So, it brought a lot of newness and excitement to the brand.”
Given that level of success, Tarallo said the brand learned how to do things differently and push boundaries when launching a new product.
“We’re seeing consumers engage with this and new to brand is a big number,” Tarallo said.
Tarallo also added that this streamlined approach to a product launch allowed for the brand to be nimbler with the roll-out. “It’s this huge upside with very low risk. And we need to be able to try to do things differently with a very agile approach,” he said.
At the end of the day, this campaign proved that it wasn’t just about #asmarterwaytohydrate, but also a smarter way to introduce customers to a new product.