Eska wants to make waves in Toronto

The water brand will kick off a social scavenger hunt in the city next month, complete with augmented reality elements.

By Matthew Chung and Tanya Kostiw

Eska Water is aiming to make itself known in Toronto with a social scavenger hunt, #eskaquest, in which consumers are sent around town in search of tiles.

Once participants find the tiles, they are prompted to scan them with their smartphones to reveal challenges employing augmented reality, which helps them collect points towards winning one of 10 iPad minis. The tiles will be located at restaurants and landmarks, as well as in some of the grocery retailers that carry the product (in Ontario, Eska is on shelves in Metro, Sobeys, Food Basic and Shoppers Drug Mart). The quest runs from July 1 to 31.

The brand wanted to ensure the quest was more than just sending participants to stores in which they could buy the product, so the fun factor wouldn’t be lost, and picked interesting parts of Toronto, says Kristin O’Meara, brand manager, Eaux Vives Water.

A sampling campaign also kicked off last month and runs until August. Three teams area slated to distribute 32,000 330-ml Natural Spring Water bottles downtown, while taking a photo with the team is a bonus challenge for the hunt. The brand has run contests and sampling in the past, but a campaign of this magnitude is a first for Eska, says O’Meara.

With Instigator Communications handling PR, radio station Indie88 will be sampling and promoting the quest on-air. The partnership with Indie88 also opened the door to sample at events the station sponsors, says O’Meara. Other supporting efforts include promotion through a Summerlicious guide, On The Go magazine, OOH at TTC stations, the brand’s social media, in addition to targeted media, influencer and blogger outreach.

Sourced in Quebec, Eska is the category leader for bottled water in that province and has nearly 25% of the market share, says O’Meara. The efforts build off momentum the brand has gained in Ontario the past couple of years, and she attributes its increased retail visibility to its sponsorships and relationships. It has sponsored the city’s Licious program the past two years and was Top Chef Canada season four’s official water.

The brand is growing at over 40% year-to-date, although its does not have AC Nielsen data for 2014, but it expects to reach more than half of the share it has in Quebec in the next two years, she adds.

Given its approach to the Ontario market, the brand opted for the quest rather than a traditional TV or print campaign, says O’Meara.”Instead we wanted something fun and playful that would give consumers a positive brand experience and a chance to interact with the Eska brand without making them feel like we are selling to them.”

The brand is not aiming the quest at a particular target, says O’Meara, noting it can be hard to pinpoint a specific demo in the water category, given its universality. However, she says the quest can be a good, free summer activity for families, while the brand also believes it will resonate with young, socially-savvy professionals who can incorporate the quest into their city lifestyle, gathering the tiles over the course of the campaign.

The quest app is available to download through Google Play, the App Store and