Schweppes is testing the water enhancer category with two distinct brands
Schweppes Australia is testing two new brands, Squirt and LQD+, in parallel to jump-start the ‘water enhancer’ market in Australia, following the category’s quick rise in the US.
The ‘water enhancer’ category has grown in the US to be worth over $400 million in around three years, and Schweppes is looking to capitalise on the opportunity by kicking off the category in Australia with the launch of two brands in parallel.
Liquid water enhancers are a new proposition for the Australian market – they’re, simply, concentrated flavours that are squirted into water to make water more ‘interesting’.
The category was born in 2011 when Kraft introduced MiO Liquid Water Enhancers to the US. By the end of last year, the market there had reached US$412 million, according to specialist food and beverage consultancy Zenith International.
The trial by Schweppes Australia started last week (1 September) in South Australia, offering a range of three flavours across two distinct brands.
The first is a sub-brand, named ‘Squirt’, which comprises a product range under the existing Cotteeʼs brand.
The second is an all-new brand named ‘LQD+’.
Schweppes’ longstanding creative partner on its cordial and water brands, Asprey Creative, developed the brand and packaging and other supporting collateral for Cotteeʼs Squirt and LQD+.
The products come in a pocket-sized format and allow consumers to customise their drinks on the go by adding flavour to water whenever they want.
The two new ranges are being tested in market in South Australia at the same time and have been designed to appeal to distinct audiences. The playful look of Cotteeʼs Squirt builds on key assets of the rebrand Cottee’s undertook earlier his year in order to appeal to modern families. The “bold and attitudinal” brand development of LQD+ focuses on independent adult consumers, positioning the product as a lifestyle accessory.
Ellie Vince, head of innovation at Schweppes Australia, tells Marketing that several key consumer trends make this the right time to launch in Australia. “For health reasons, there’s a big trend towards consuming more bottled water, but the major barrier to consuming more bottled water is that water is seen as boring and uninteresting,” Vince says.
“[Also] there’s this emerging trend coming through around people wanting to have control over everything they do, from their mobile phones to customising the shoes they wear or the playlists they listen to.”
Another trend playing a role here is the valuing of environmentally-friendly consumption. “For every person that reuses their bottle of water, it’s three times, so it absolutely taps into that,” Vince says. “Plus also we know it’s quite a high percentage of drinks that people drink each day is tap water.”
“We’re seeing this meeting of all of these emerging trends – the need to drink more water, be healthier, but not really enjoying the taste of it, so it felt like the time was right for a more convenient way of making a tastier addition to water that people can customise and make their own.”
We asked Vince the rationale between the two new brand, Cottee’s Squirt and LQD+. One reason is simply due to the pack size of the product itself. The bottles are small, so to get a substantial amount of presence and visibility on shelf, a certain breadth and variance is needed for it to be noticed.
But the main reason behind launching two brands was insight around Cottee’s as a brand, says Vince: “Its main consumer base is families. We know that people try to take Cottee’s out of the home by pre-mixing up big jugs of cordial, but the format’s not really conducive to moving out and about. There’s definitely an opportunity for us to allow people to enjoy Cottee’s style of cordial out and about, so it felt like a natural fit to extend the Cottee’s brand into a smaller and more convenient format,” she says.
“Everything about [the water enhancer category] is new, so it’s nice to keep one thing consistent – people understand the Cottee’s brand, people are familiar with it, it’s got credibility. Keeping one thing consistent is really valuable for us.”
The story behind LQD+ was also driven by its target market: “The biggest consumers of bottled water, when they’re out and about, is 20 to 30 year olds, and the Cottee’s brand is not really a brand for 20 to 30 year olds,” Vince says. “So the other opportunity for us was creating a new brand which takes its cues from other impulse categories like gums and mints, which are more of an extension of you that you keep on you at all times in your pocket or in your handbag. [It’s] the kind of target audience that buys into bottled water but also is at the forefront of that trend around customisation and personalisation.”
Cottee’s Squirt and LQD+ are initially being distributed in supermarkets Woolworths and Foodland, and in convenience stores.