Be Smart – Keep Your Campaign Consistent and True to the Product

After a number of years of Jennifer Aniston being the spokesperson for Smartwater and representing it in a smart way, things have gotten a little, ummm, less smart.

The thoughts of a misstep became shockingly clear to me on the 405 just North of LAX. My eye was caught by the huge image of Aniston without a top on and the bottle.  I risked getting into an accident to try to figure out what the tag line was: Simplicity Should Be Savored.  I sort of get it as it relates to the image, but not to the product.

In what was perhaps an understated campaign over the past few years leveraging Aniston and the seemingly smart or healthy qualities of the product, the brand always seemed to pose the question that, if you are going to buy bottled water, why not buy something that is more that what you can get out of your faucet?  That something extra was the enhanced elements – electrolites. So, besides the exploitative or shocking nature of the image in the billboard, the tag line is just not relevant to the product as it is not water in its simplest form.

Dont’ get me wrong here.  I am absolutely not a hater.  We constantly stock Smartwater in the house.  I loved the tone and quality of the “Viral Video” they did with Aniston – garnering  close to 10MM plays in 4 months. I certainly am a fan of Aniston. But the image just shocked me in the fact that it is not even consistent with the messaging from the video above – where Aniston questions stooping to the level of others to shill a drink that is inherently smart.

The image is seemingly part of a larger campaign showing Aniston with Smartwater in hand as she goes about her normal routine – lounging around or appearing at an event:

But those taglines actually relate to the product and they certainly do not go to the lowest denominator.

Ultimately, this campaign took a turn in the wrong direction – not because of the risque image – but because it seemed to be done just to do it.  It’s great to have something eye-catching if it works with the brand.  In this case, it wasn’t consistent with the “truth” of the product.

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