Letters: Even muddier

Re: 'DDB set to unveil first Evian creative' in the March 20 issue.Losing the Evian business to DDB Needham after a wonderful six-year association with a great brand and great friends on both sides of the Atlantic was a sad day...

Re: ‘DDB set to unveil first Evian creative’ in the March 20 issue.

Losing the Evian business to DDB Needham after a wonderful six-year association with a great brand and great friends on both sides of the Atlantic was a sad day for our agency.

But what can you do about worldwide alignments? C’est la vie.

I was delighted to read that Kurt Hagen has ‘great respect’ for the ads we created for Evian over the years.

But I was flabbergasted to read that he thinks the ads didn’t ‘accomplish much in the way of building the brand.’

Mr. Hagen is entitled to his subjective creative assessment of our work’s impact on Evian’s business over the years. The facts, however, prove him wrong.

Evian was a relatively small player in the Canadian bottled water market, with most of its sales concentrated in Quebec, when we were awarded the business in 1988.

There had been little or no advertising, and awareness levels were relatively low. Seven years later, Evian is the leading brand of premium still water.

Brand awareness levels are consistent with its leadership position. And, in what is becoming a commodity category, Evian occupies a very unique niche and commands a premium price.

I find it ironic that the same article which quotes ddb’s creative director also states that ‘Evian accounted for more than half of sales in the flat bottled water category and enjoys an awareness of over 90% among bottled water drinkers.’

I would never claim that advertising alone was responsible for Evian’s phenomenal growth. But it most definitely was a key driver along with the efforts of one of the most resourceful and creative sales and marketing groups I have ever worked with.

Kurt Hagen also claims that ‘ a lot of people who liked Wanda the Fish were not Evian drinkers.’

I’ll only say that Antoine Riboud, the Groupe Danone’s chairman, has a copy of the poster hanging in his Paris office.

And, last I heard, he still drinks (and sells) a lot of it.

Eric Blais

Vice-President

Director of Strategic Planning

Harrod & Mirlin

Toronto