Evian marketer on why it's ditching TV for Snapchat as 'Live Young' babies return for latest campaign

Evian's babies return

Evian’s Live Young babies are back, but this time they’ll be bouncing through Snapchat, digital and out-of-home rather than TV screens.

Rolling out in the US, UK, France, Germany, Benelux and Switzerland, the global Oversized campaign wants to get consumers viewing the world through the eyes of a baby. As such, Evian and long-term agency BETC are prizing the immersive above the passive; launching a Snapchat lens and filter and hosting activations at events across the year and, crucially, choosing to spurn a TVC.

It’s not the first time Evian has sidestepped the medium but an interesting choice nonetheless considering how successful its Live Young ads have been in the past. Baby & Me from 2013 has racked up 142 million views on the brand’s YouTube, while the first iteration – 2009’s Roller Babies – is on 87 million.

The ads have been critically acclaimed too, with Live Young pulling in a total of 270 awards.

But Patricia Oliva, Evian’s global marketing director, is confident that the Oversized marketing push can equal that of its predecessors without the help of the box.

She said: “We believe with the media we are using, we are stronger than if we used TV. For us the Oversized concept was so strong that we didn’t need to have it.”

But the brand is not writing out the medium’s relevance and effectiveness altogether, as some forecasters have begun to. Rather, she explained that it's simply more reflective of the direction this iteration of the long-running campaign has taken.

"What we want [for Oversized] is for people to really get involved in the experience that is super interactive, which is why we decided for this campaign to put our efforts into other media," she said.

In working with Snapchat for the first time, the brand has produced a limited edition lens (the creative for which is currently being kept under wraps, but it plays on the theme of looking through a baby’s eyes) that will go live for 24 hours across six regions on the app, before launching worldwide via a Snapcode on Evian’s bottles. Additionally, geofilters that change every week – also accessible via the Snapcode – have been introduced.

Evian is also bringing the idea of looking through the eyes of a baby into the physical world with a playful experiential campaign in Paris’s Galeries Lafayette, teaming up for an oversized fashion line with streetwear brand Rad and planning its usual tennis activations at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Meanwhile, creative for OHH, digital and social focuses largely on another new aspect of the campaign: the Evian Live Young Team. This ambassador squad comprises sports stars Stan Wawrinka, Lucas Pouille, Madison Keys, Lydia Ko and Maria Sharapova ("we are really happy with our partnership and don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t work with her") who have been brought together to preach the gospel of hydration and sport in a healthy, balanced lifestyle. All are turned into babies after drinking the mineral water as part of the creative.

While the partnership with Snapchat was inked as part of a bid to lure a younger audience, Oliva contends the raft of other activity highlights Evian is not solely after the millennial demographic.

“Evian is really targeting all ages,” she said. “But the younger target is evolving and the younger target from two years ago is not the same. So we really need to be adapting our communications based on who they are today and what their habits are. It’s not that the target has changed, what has changed is how to address and engage them."

The bulk of Snapchat’s users probably are too young to remember those first rolling skating babes. Eight years is a long time for a creative concept to survive these days, so how has Evian managed to keep Live Young consistent without it going stale?

“The last campaigns have been super successful – people love to see the babies,” said Oliva. “BETC is coming back to us with different stuff again and again and so far we are happy with the results of the campaign. What we are really doing is adapting this campaign to the realities of our consumers and their consumption habits in terms of media. We really include them in our campaign, and what we are doing in execution is completely different from other years.

“For us, the key thing is reinventing ourselves every time. It’s not to come back with the same thing, it’s to make it really different.”

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Katie Deighton

Katie Deighton is The Drum’s senior reporter - creative and video based in London. She produces, films, presents and edits the title’s editorial video output, including series such as On The Scene, Ad Breakers and Why I Left Advertising, and manages its coverage of the creative sector. She also reports on the intersection between politics and marketing, as well as the third sector and fashion.

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