Creative in association withGear Seven

How Y&R and VML Indonesia Rehydrated the Aqua Water Brand

Advertising Agency
Singapore, Singapore
Agency takes us behind the scenes with Indonesia’s only APAC EFFIE winner 2016

Y&R and VML Indonesia’s #adaAQUA campaign for Danone Waters Indonesia was recently crowned as the country’s only Winner at the APAC EFFIES 2016 – firmly embedding the brand into everyday vernacular and increasing already market-leading sales by almost 20%.

Danone’s AQUA is the world’s largest bottled water brand. Having been the first-mover into Indonesia, AQUA was the clear category leader in a segment selling some 23 billion litres per year. The AQUA name had also become the generic term for bottled water nationwide.

The challenge the brand faced? Competition - not only from other bottled water brands, the number of which had increased by 300% in the past 3 years - but also from multiple non-alcoholic beverages including ready-to-drink teas, carbonated soft drinks, juices and isotonic offerings. With their lifestyle driven marketing, other soft drinks were appealing to young adults who perceived water as a mundane commodity rather than a cool lifestyle choice, especially when out socializing or ‘on-the-go’. The challenge was to rehydrate the AQUA brand, and recapture market share.

Comprising 43% of the population, but consuming far less water than older adults, teens and young adults represent the future of the business and therefore the ‘must-reach’ demographic for AQUA. Based on the insight that 11-30 year-olds take water for granted, the key idea was to show them life without it. 

TV educated and entertained with a series of TVC’s showing amusing scenarios in which the protagonists made silly mistakes due to dehydration. From jumping pillion onto the wrong moped to taking a selfie with a mistaken celebrity, each ad concluded with the hashtag #adaAQUA (have you) ‘got water’? By sparking online activity, the conversation was taken up on Twitter with people sharing their own awkward moments caused by dehydration. The most entertaining ones were chosen to receive a year’s supply of AQUA. Hidden camera ‘reality’ style TVCs pranked consumers into spotting celebrity vendors, and a Mind-Controlled Vending Machine required users to concentrate on a game to win prizes. And #adaAQUA messages were tailored to different types of outdoor locations.


• Target sales were exceeded by over 30%, with an overall volume growth of 19.2% and 5.2% growth in volume share. 

• adaAQUA grew the category by 28.8% versus a 16.4% average – plus a +3 index on the target segment, +3.3% net conversion and +5 points repeat rate.

• Having targeted 50,000 mentions for the hashtag, the campaign delivered over 450,000 uses of #adaAQUA. 

• Brand recognition rose to 92% from a 68% norm, and 58% equated lack of AQUA to lack of focus versus a 42% norm.

• The campaign generated hundreds of thousands of stories, plus memes and parodies galore. #adaAQUA became Indonesia’s first ever branded trending topic, generating a staggering 6 billion impressions.

• And proof that adaAQUA had entered the local vernacular came on National Day, when the Vice President neglected to salute his own flag – the next day’s news headlines pointing out that he’d obviously forgotten his AQUA.