Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?
The In-Between Water’s innovative design disrupted the way Finns interacted with alcohol in liquor stores and each shopping time gave them a reminder to drink water between alcohol. The In-Between Waters were adopted to every liquor store in Finland.
Alko is a Finnish authority whose mission is to reduce the harm caused by alcohol abuse in Finland.
Past years, the company has encouraged moderate drinking with very conventional advertising that has had hard time to get the message across to all Finns, nationwide.
This year, Alko wanted Finns to observe their drinking habits and remind them about the importance of drinking water in a fitting retail space – the liquor stores.
The approach needed to be something the public could experience and it should inspire change in drinking behaviour – not highlight the dangers of drinking. Because today, as individualism is peaking and people are more media literate, there’s no room for being patronizing.
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
As liquor stores’ shelves are already filled with liquor, we designed a product that takes zero shelf space – a bottle that would rest on the shoulders of liquor bottles.
It is called Välivesi – the In-Between Water.
The “In-Between Water” is a literal translation from a common Finnish word “välivesi”, which is generally used to remind someone to drink water between alcoholic beverages. Basically, it’s Alko’s key message coded inside the witty little word.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
The campaign had two target groups: Finnish adults and all the media outlets of the country. For both, the message had to be catchy, concise and unexpected.
To persuade someone to have less of something they like (alcohol) is more difficult than persuading to have more of something they like (water). We chose the latter.
And as there’s no better or more surprising place to get people to think about their drinking habits than the point of sale in a liquor store, we chose to sell it exclusively in liquor stores – right between alcohol bottles.
Because “välivesi” is already used in the common language to Alko’s advantage, the company decided to take ownership of the word. Ultimately, the product was both the message and the main media.
Describe the execution (30% of vote)
Even full liquor shelves have natural empty space – in the air, right next to the bottles’ necks. So, by designing the water bottle upside down and placing it to rest in between the necks, Alko could take advantage of that space.
With this simple design we changed the way people interact with alcohol in liquor stores and disrupted their shopping routines. When a customer grabs a wine bottle, she can not miss our message – which the product ultimately was.
The product hit first liquor stores in November, when alcohol consumption spikes in the whole nation, because of pre-Christmas parties. Soon after, liquor stores around Finland one by one adopted the In-Between Water to their selection – until it was on every single liquor store’s shelf.
List the results (30% of vote)
The In-Between Water became a social phenomenon: Finns made taste tests, bottle cap challenges, even a song, and started reminding each other to drink water between alcoholic drinks.
The In-Between Water was the third most discussed product of 2019 and a huge topic in social media. It got 51 media hits and was covered in all 10 of the largest national newspapers, all the largest TV and radio channels.
With earned media, The In-Between Water reached 29,395,076 Finns – over 5 times Finland’s population. Earned media value was €271,905.
The In-Between Water rose the demand of the whole non-alcoholic category by 587%. Demand was so high, liquor stores had to order more to keep up with it.
The In-Between Water disrupted retail and media rules, and reminded all Finns to drink moderately. Still today, you can find it from every liquor store.