Looney Tunes Water case study

By The Drum, Administrator

June 20, 2002 | 5 min read

Julie McGarvye collects 3x1’s Best Business-to Business Campaign Award.


Born June 2001, Looney Tunes Water (LTW) was the first bottled water for children, pioneered by Highland Spring, the biggest brand of natural mineral water. The product was launched via public relations.

This new still water is aimed at primary school kids aged 5-12, and has 330ml sports-cap bottles featuring the universally loved Bugs Bunny, Tasmanian Devil, Sylvester and Tweety Pie.

The aim was to create a new sector within the bottled water market by introducing a younger generation of consumers and to position Looney Tunes as a credible option to sweet, soft drinks. The goal was achieved.

Despite growing public concern about kids’ junk diets, there is a climate of increasing media cynicism towards character licensing in the food and drink arena; therefore it was agreed that the brand would need to have adult buy-in as well as playground credibility.

Objective & Strategy

The communications objectives were:

ï To launch Looney Tunes Water as the first bottled water for children.

ï To build the brand profile in the trade press and help secure listings in retailers.

ï To take ownership of the kids’ bottled water category and position Highland Spring as the market authority.

The consultancy recommended the following strategy:

ï To position the product as a fun, healthy alternative to fizzy drinks with street cred.

ï To champion the case for kids’ healthy eating and drinking and enlist opinion-former support.

Target Market

The key goal was The Grocer, the industry bible, and other UK drinks/retail trade press to achieve buy-in and support clients in securing listings for the product.

The next audience was to target selected high-profile consumer lifestyle media, parenting titles, kids’ comics, followed by specialist media (e.g. dental) and opinion formers.

Planning & Research (Feb-May 2001)

Statistics and focus group material from the client’s two-year research programme was used in the press kit. 3x1 conducted extra attitudinal research from parents, teachers, dentists and children to crystallise the campaign messages, i.e. first kids’ bottled water; no sugar or additives; fun and healthy.

The consultancy’s research showed media cynicism towards paid-for accreditation (following the Ribena Toothkind issue); therefore 3x1 recommended that the brand should be launched on the strength of its 100 per cent Scottish natural water status, underpinned by Highland Spring’s impressive credentials.

While the British Dental Association (BDA) could not endorse the brand per se, an opinion-former quotes portfolio was created (at no cost) with independent comment from the BDA, the UK’s authority on oral health, Professor Kay of Turner Dental School, Manchester University, Zenith International, the leading soft drinks research company, and Fiona Hunter, ex-editor of Good Housekeeping and a leading nutritionist.

As The Grocer was the bull’s-eye target, 3x1 negotiated an exclusive preview briefing with the marketing director to whet interest and illustrate Highland Spring’s innovation.

Execution & Implementation

The Grocer’s embargoed briefing resulted in three excellent phased stories – launch editorial, an independent kids’ taste test and branding in its Focus on Scotland report.

Other UK trade titles were then targeted, as well as 1x1 briefings for the Scottish editors of Scottish Grocer, SLTN and Catering in Scotland – who all covered the launch. National coverage appeared in all the influencer trade titles, e.g. Checkout, Asian Trader, Convenience Store, Independent Retail News, Independent Caterer, Forecourt Trader, Retail Week, bottledwaterworld and many others.

Selected consumer media received kids’ lunch boxes with product and a tartan Bugs Bunny to reinforce the brand’s Scottish source. A mix of coverage appeared in high-profile lifestyle media including Funday Times (Sunday Times), the Mirror, The Times, the Sun, Metro, Good Housekeeping, Practical Parenting, Saga and London Radio.

A business expansion story was wired to Scottish newspapers and broadcast media using photography involving Highland Spring’s local primary school, which created a high profile in local media e.g. The Herald, Scotsman, Daily Record, Business am, P&J, Courier, Scottish Sun, Evening Telegraph, Clyde 1, Radio Tay, Scot FM, BBC Radio Scotland, Grampian TV and the Perthshire Advertiser.

To drive demand a pilot Scottish sampling promo was negotiated over three days with Safeway and the Daily Record/Sunday Mail, offering a bottle for every reader with extensive run of paper branding and an unmissable front-page splash.

The focus then switched to dentists, promoting a free dental kit in three cities across the UK targeting Spring titles. Coverage appeared in the prestigious BDA News, Scottish Dentist, Dental Health and 3x1 penned a by-lined two-page article for The Dentist.

Strongly branded kids’ competitions appeared in national titles, including Funday Times (Sunday Times), Looney Tunes Comic, Puzzle Time as well as local Scottish media.

Results & Evaluation

Looney Tunes Water was an instant success. In its first four months it outperformed the current adult sports bottle category leader and is now averaging 11 per cent of adult sports cap sales in the UK. It is listed in Tesco, Safeway, Waitrose, major cash and carries and independent retailers. Safeway reported redemptions way above target and AC Nielsen stats measure sales growth that drove demand across Scotland.

Opportunities to see: 15.7 million

Trade: circ 800,000

Consumer: circ 10.9 million (excluding online)

Broadcast: listener/viewership approx 4 million

Dental kits: approx 150 dental kits issued: waiting list of 50.


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