TBWA’s ten-year hold on Evian in the UK appears under threat following a
decision by the French mineral water brand to put the advertising on
test against the equivalent created in France by Euro RSCG.
The unusual step coincides with the recent arrival of Marc Mathieu as UK
managing director of Premier Waters, which distributes Evian mineral
water and its sister brand, Volvic, in the UK.
It also follows a shift this summer in the roster of the French food and
drinks giant, Danone, when the bulk of its brands were streamlined into
The Evian pan-European business shifted to Euro RSCG two years ago,
which already had the French home market, but the brand was left at TBWA
in the UK and US.
Results on the tests are not expected until after Christmas, but the
winner is almost certain to pick up Evian’s entire pounds 2 million
account in the UK.
The loss of Evian would leave TBWA with no Danone brands in the UK.
TBWA’s chief executive, Alasdair Ritchie, said the decision to see if
European advertising would work in the UK was a common phenomenon among
international groups, which were always seeking ways to reduce costs.
‘It’s been a remit from France,’ he explained. ‘It is a fairly
straightforward situation. They have taken some French films and they
have run them against European copy.’
He added, however, that mineral water consumers were different on each
side of the Channel. The French, for example, drink an average of 70
litres of mineral water a year, he said, while their UK counterparts
consume roughly ten times less.