If Nikita Droin has his way, we’ll all be seeing in the next
millennium by raising a glass of water at midnight.
Not that he’s a party pooper. It’s just that as managing director of
Perrier Vittel UK, he is doing his best to convince the world that
drinking Perrier is as much fun as drinking champagne.
’We want our brand to fit in with the party mood,’ he says. To this end,
Ogilvy & Mather is launching a new campaign for Perrier - still the UK’s
best-selling mineral water brand - this week.
The advertising combines images of 20th-century icons with Perrier
In each case, the two images are juxtaposed to put a new perspective on
the whole picture, hence we get to see famous faces, Einstein among
them, supping the French mineral water. The branding comes from the
prominence of the Perrier bottles and cans rather than a clever
Appropriately enough, Perrier used to be billed as the champagne of
mineral waters. But now it wants to sell itself as a less exclusive
brand, and the ’eau’ campaign has been dropped in favour of the new,
informal advertising that distances Perrier from its residual reputation
as a yuppie status brand and promotes it as an everyday drink.
Droin has been with the brand since 1989, when he joined fresh from an
MBA at the City University of New York. His original remit was to
explore opportunities for extending the famous mineral water brand into
other categories, but since then he has worked in both corporate finance
and marketing for the company in Brazil, France and the UK.
’The water category is fascinating,’ he argues in his soft French
’Most people just think water is water, so it is very rewarding when you
show them that there are big differences in taste between the brands.
Perrier’s magic is in its big bubbles - everyone recognises it.’
Around the world, Perrier’s ambition is to be perceived as an
’irreverent and trend-setting’ drink. The new campaign - devised by O&M
Paris - is ideal in this respect, because the popular icons used in each
execution can be varied to suit the country in which the ad appears.
In New York, for instance, cutting-edge cartoon characters are de
rigueur, whereas in France, the ads bear images of Bruce Lee and Marty
Albert Einstein and Uncle Sam have been selected for the UK and in
Belgium Captain Haddock from the Tintin books is inadvertently knocking
back a Perrier.
Droin thinks the latest campaign, which has already run in other
territories, is particularly well suited to the UK. ’Perrier fits in
with the English. Both are irreverent but with a respect for tradition,’
Despite his French roots, Droin and his wife, daughter and three sons
will be in the UK to raise a glass of bubbly at the dawn of the year
’The Greenwich meridian is where it all starts,’ he says, ’England is
the place to be.’