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Archive for the ‘carbon offset’ Category

Isn’t this appropriate for ‘the waterguy’ with a time management challenge when it comes to regular blog updates… but less of me and what’s with the blog action water thing?

 ‘Blog Action Day’ (capitals because it’s official) is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water…

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water, which equates to one in eight of us. A lack of basic sanitation (water dependent) causes 80% of diseases and kills more people each year than war does. Children are especially vulnerable and as a parent of a child who’s survived dysentery, it’s a most frightening (water borne) illness which we were fortunate to have nursed our child through.

The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation. So simple, yet so challenging, particularly where politics gets in the way to restrict those least able from helping themselves…

For my part, water is an environmental issue, a sustainability issue and an issue which deserves a global profile as bloggers of the world theoretically unite in one conversation…

I’m not really into research, but the US, Mexico and China apparently lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. That sounds high to me, but based on this figure, around 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, while more than 80 percent will unlikely ever be recycled.

Which brings me back to where I started out several years ago looking for a better alternative when I realised people won’t stop drinking bottled water just because I think its ecological folly.

I’m pleased, on this particular Blog Action Day, to be able to report how Aquapax is still growing from strength to strength, with a retail listing approaching 500 stores across Europe and with exciting new distribution areas embracing the change we’ve introduced in their own countries.

While it’s frustrating how some UK retailers still won’t talk to us until we can prove with expensive research reports how their particular customers might actually appreciate a more ecologically sensible choice of packaged water, we continue to grow through customer choice exercised within Tesco, Waitrose and Monop (part of Monoprix Group) so this makes three of the largest and most respected retailers in the world.

I’ve updated the ‘where can I buy Aquapax’ listing below with the UK based stores we know about and ask you to please let us know if you’d like to add your local independent retail outlet to this list.

Warm wishes

N

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As our iconic blue cartons establish their presence ever wider, we’ve had quite a few e-mails here at head office asking which Tesco and Waitrose stores AQUAPAX are now available in here in the UK.

Independents typically don’t tell us when they stock a product, and depending on the professionalism of the wholesalers, they can frequently experience out of stock periods, so here’s the list of the multiple stores we know this far, listed alphabetically… NB. If the store isn’t specifically listed as any other, then it’s a Tesco store listing.  If there’s no store near you yet, please be patient…

In addition to countless independent stores near you which already stock AQUAPAX, it is a listed product in both Tesco and Waitrose warehouses; if your local store doesn’t stock them in their range, you can ask for them to be stocked for you. (say please 🙂 )

As of writing, there’s still no news on our listing within Ocado, but hang on in there – we are too… meanwhile, we’re in selected Tesco.com stores, wherever there’s a superstore in the ‘picking’ area…

1-23 CITY RD LONDON – Tesco Express

124 TOTTENHAM COURT RD., LONDON – Tesco Express

125 THE STRAND, LONDON – Tesco Express

248 FULHAM ROAD, LONDON – Tesco Express

279 KINGS ROAD, LONDON – Tesco Express

50 CURZON STREET, LONDON – Tesco Express

700 FULHAM ROAD, LONDON – Tesco Express

82 HOLLAND PARK ROAD, LONDON – Tesco Express

87 GLOUCESTER RD, LONDON – Tesco Express

ACTON, LONDON – Tesco Express

ALDERLEY EDGE – Tesco Express

ALDERSGATE – Tesco Express

ALRESFORD SOTON – Tesco Express

AMERSHAM HILL AVE – Tesco Express

AMERSHAM,LONDON ROAD WEST, AMERSHAM, BUCKS, HP7 0HA

ANERLEY RD CRYSTAL PALACE – Tesco Express

ASCOT HIGH ST – Tesco Express

AYLESBURY EXTRA,BROADFIELDS RETAIL PARK,AYLESBURY,BUCKS, HP19 8BU

BAKER STREET, LONDON – Tesco Express

BALHAM, LONDON – Tesco Express

BALHAM, LONDON – Waitrose

BAMFORD – Tesco Express

BARBICAN – Waitrose

BARKING,HIGHBRIDGE ROAD,BARKING,GREATER LONDON,IG11 7BS

BARNES – Tesco Express

BARNET GREEN BIRMINGHAM – Tesco Express

BASILDON MAYFLOWER RETAIL PARK, BASILDON, ESSEX, SS14 3HZ

BASILDON PITSEA EXTRA,OFF STATION LANE,BASILDON, ESSEX, SS13 3JU

BATHWICK HILL BATH – Tesco Express

BATTERSEA RISE, LONDON – Tesco Express

BAYSWATER – Tesco Express

BEDFORD RIVERFIELD ROAD,RIVERFIELD DRIVE,BEDFORD, MK41 0SE

BELSIZE PARK, LONDON – Tesco Express

BELSIZE ROAD, LONDON – Tesco Express

BISHOPSGATE METRO,158-164 BISHOPSGATE, LONDON, EC2M 4LN

BLUEWATER – John Lewis Food Hall

BOREHAMWOOD TESCO EXTRA, SHENLEY ROAD, BOREHAMWOOD, HERTS, WD6 1JG

BRAMHALL CHESHIRE – Tesco Express

BRENT CROSS HENDON WAY TESCO, TILLING ROAD, LONDON, NW2 1LZ

BRENTWOOD – Tesco Express

BRIGHTON QUEENS RD – Tesco Express

BROMLEY – Tesco Express

BROOKLANDS EXTRA, BARNES WALLACE DRIVE, WEYBRIDGE, SURREY, KT13 0XF

BURNHAM HIGH ST – Tesco Express

BUSHEY HEATH – Tesco Express

CAMDEN, LONDON – Tesco Express

CANARY WHARF – Waitrose

CAVERSHAM – Tesco Express

CHAFFORD HUNDRED – Tesco Express

CHALFONT – Tesco Express

CHELMSFORD PRINCES ROAD,PRINCES ROAD,CHELMSFORD,ESSEX,CM2 9XW

CHELSEA, LONDON – Tesco Express

CHESHUNT TESCO EXTRA,BROOKFIELD CENTRE,WALTHAM CROSS,HERTFORDSHIRE,EN8 0TA

CHISWICK HIGH RD, LONDON – Tesco Express

CLAPHAM HIGH ST, LONDON – Tesco Express

CLAPHAM JUNCTION – Waitrose

CLERKENWELL – Waitrose

CLIFTON, NR.BRISTOL – Waitrose

CLIFTON BRISTOL – Tesco Express

CLIFTON RD MAIDA VALE – Tesco Express

COLCHESTER TESCO EXTRA, HIGHWOODS SQUARE, COLCHESTER, ESSEX, CO4 9ED

COLNEY HATCH TESCO, COPPETTS CENTRE, NORTH CIRCULAR ROAD, N12 0SH

COVENT GARDEN TESCO METRO,22-25 BEDFORD STREET, LONDON, WC2E 9EQ

COVENTRY ARENA TESCO EXTRA, PHOENIX WAY, WEST MIDLANDS,CV6 6EN

CRADDOCKS ASHTEAD – Tesco Express

CROUCH END – Tesco Express

CROUCH-END – Waitrose

CROUCH ST COLCHESTER – Tesco Express

CROXTED RD DULWCH – Tesco Express

CUFFLEY – Tesco Express

DANBURY – Tesco Express

DATCHET – Tesco Express

DEAN ROW RD WILMS – Tesco Express

DEAN STREET METRO, DEAN STREET,LONDON, W1D 3RS

DERBY HILTON – Tesco Express

DIDSBURY – Tesco Express

DORRIDGE SOLIHULL – Tesco Express

DROVEWAY HOVE – Tesco Express

EALING TESCO METRO, UNIT 20 BROADWAY SHOPPING CENTRE, LONDON, W5 5JY

EALING WEST – Waitrose

EASTBOURNE MEADS – Tesco Express

EDGEWARE ROAD – Waitrose John Barnes EAST SHEEN – Tesco Express

EMMER GREEN – Tesco Express

EST RD SHOREDITCH, LONDON – Tesco Express

EUSTON ROAD, LONDON – Tesco Express

FARNHAM COMMON – Tesco Express

FINCHLEY,21-29 BALLARDS LANE,LONDON,GREATER LONDON,N3 1XP

FLEET – Tesco Express

FLEET STREET LONDON – Tesco Express

FOREST ROW – Tesco Express

FORTUNE GREEN RD – Tesco Express

FOUR MARKS ALTON – Tesco Express

FULHAM – Tesco Express

FULHAM PALACE RD – Tesco Express

GALLIONS REACH TESCO EXTRA, 1 ARMADA WAY,LONDON, E6 7FB

GEORGE ST LONDON – Tesco Express

GOODGE STREET METRO,10-16 GOODGE STREET,LONDON, W1T 2QB

GRAYSHOTT HASLEMERE – Tesco Express

GREENFORD HOOVER BUILDING,OLD HOOVER BUILDING,GREENFORD, UB6 8DW

GREENWOOD CROWTHORNE – Tesco Express

GUILDFORD BRIDGE – Tesco Express

GUILDFORD,ASHENDEN ROAD,GUILDFORD,SURREY,GU2 7UN

HALE – Tesco Express

HAMMERSMITH TESCO METRO,13-16 BROADWAY CENTRE,LONDON, W6 9YD

HAMMERSMITH,180 SHEPHERDS BUSH ROAD,LONDON, W6 7NL

HAMPTON HILL – Tesco Express

HARPENDEN – Tesco Express

HARROW STATION ROAD TESCO,STATION ROAD, HARROW, HA1 2TU

HATCH END – Tesco Express

Hatfield Extra, Great North Road, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9

HAVEN GRN EALING – Tesco Express

HAYES UXBRIDGE RD – Tesco Express

HAYES YEADING TESCO EXTRA, GLENCOE ROAD, HAYES, UB4 9SQ

HEATH ST HAMPSTED – Tesco Express

HEATON MOOR STOCKPORT – Tesco Express

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD TESCO, JARMAN WAY, HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, HERTS, HP2 4JS

HENLEAZE – Tesco Express

HIGH WYCOMBE LOUDWATER, LONDON ROAD, HIGH WYCOMBE, BUCKS, HP10 9RT

HIGHBURY TESCO METRO, 43 HOLLOWAY ROAD, LONDON, N7 8JP

HIGHGATE HIGH ST – Tesco Express

HISTON CAMBS – Tesco Express

HOLBORN VIADUCT – Tesco Express

HORNSEY HIGH ST – Tesco Express

HOVE – Tesco Express

HOVE DENMARK VLLS – Tesco Express

ICKENHAM HIGH RD – Tesco Express

ISLINGTON GREEN TESCO METRO, 25-29 ISLINGTON GREEN, LONDON, N1 8DU

JERSEY FARM ST ALBANS – Tesco Express

KENSINGTON METRO, 146-158 HIGH STREET, LONDON, W8 6SU

KENSINGTON TESCO, WEST CROMWELL ROAD,LONDON, W14 8PB

KENTISH TOWN – Tesco Express

KEW GARDEN – Tesco Express

KING ST HAMMRSMTH – Tesco Express

KINGSCROSS TESCO METRO, 21 CALEDONIAN ROAD, LONDON, N1 9DX

KINGS ROAD CHELSEA – Waitrose

LANGFORD BICESTER – Tesco Express

LEWISHAM TESCO, 209 LEWISHAM ROAD, LONDON, SE13 7PY

LEYES LANE KENILWORTH – Tesco Express

LILLIPUT POOLE – Tesco Express

LITTLE CHALFONT – Tesco Express

LOCKSHEATH SOUTHAMPTON – Tesco Express

LONDON BLACKFRIARS – Tesco Express

LYCHPIT BASINGSTOKE – Tesco Express

MAIDA VALE – Tesco Express

MAILBOX BIRMINGHAM – Tesco Express

MARKET WINCHESTER – Tesco Express

MARYLEBONE – Tesco Express

MELCOMBE ST LONDON – Tesco Express

MONCK ST VICTORIA – Tesco Express

NEW BARNET – Tesco Express

NEW MALDEN TESCO EXTRA,300 BEVERLEY WAY, NEW MALDEN, KT3 4PJ

NEWBURY TESCO EXTRA, PINCHINGTON LANE, NEWBURY, WEST BERKS, RG14 7HB

NEWTON MEARNS – Tesco Express

NORTH END RD WEST KENSINGTON – Tesco Express

NORTHAMPTON SOUTH TESCO EXTRA,CLANNELL ROAD, NORTHANTS, NN4 0JF

NOTTINGHAM TRINITY SQUARE – Waitrose

NORTHFIELDS EALING – Tesco Express

NORTHWICH REGENCY – Tesco Express

NOTTING HILL GATE TESCO METRO,114-120 NOTTING HILL GATE, LONDON, W11 3QE

NOTTINGHAM COMPTON – Tesco Express

OAKWOOD – Tesco Express

OLD BROAD ST – Tesco Express

OLD BROMPTON RD – Tesco Express

OLDSWINFORD – Tesco Express

OLNEY MARKET PLAC – Tesco Express

OLYMPIA HAMMERSMITH – Tesco Express

OSTERLEY TESCO EXTRA, OSTERLEY PARK, ISLEWORTH, GREATER LONDON, TW7 5NZ

OXFORD ST. ALDATES – Tesco Express

OXFORD STREET – John Lewis Food Hall

OXFORD TESCO,UNIT 7 OXFORD RETAIL PARK,OXFORD, OXFORDSHIRE, OX4 6XJ

OXLEY PARK MILTON KEYNES – Tesco Express

OXTED – Waitrose

PIMLICO – Tesco Express

PORTOBELLO ROAD TESCO METRO,224-226 PORTOBELLO ROAD, LONDON, W11 1LJ

PURLEY TESCO EXTRA, 8 PURLEY ROAD, PURLEY, GREATER LONDON, CR8 2HA

PUTNEY HIGH ST – Tesco Express

QUAYSIDE NEWCASTLE – Tesco Express

QUEENS RD WYBRDGE

QUEENSWAY TESCO METRO, 138/142 QUEENSWAY, LONDON, W2 6LS

READING TESCO EXTRA, NAPIER ROAD, READING, READING, RG1 8DF

REGENT ST CLIFTON – Tesco Express

REGENT STREET TESCO METRO,17-25 REGENT STREET, LONDON, SW1Y 4LR

RICHMOND TESCO METRO,29 GEORGE STREET,RICHMOND, TW9 1HY

RIDGEWAY RD FARNHAM – Tesco Express

ROMFORD TESCO EXTRA, 300 HORNCHURCH ROAD, HORNCHURCH, RM11 1PY

ROYAL HOSPITAL RD – Tesco Express

RUSSELL SQUARE – Tesco Express

SANDHURST TESCO EXTRA, THE MEADOWS, SANDHURST, BERKS, GU47 0FD

SHEFFIELD FULWOOD – Tesco Express

SHENFIELD BRENTWD – Tesco Express

SHENLEY – Tesco Express

SIDCUP TESCO,EDGINGTON WAY,SIDCUP, GREATER LONDON, DA14 5BN

SLOUGH WELLINGTON TESCO EXTRA,BRUNEL WAY,SLOUGH, SL1 1XW

SOUTH WHARF PADTN – Tesco Express

SOUTHAMPTON ROW – Tesco Express

SOUTHEND TESCO EXTRA,PRINCE AVENUE,WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA, SS0 0JP

ST ALBAN BEECH RD – Tesco Express

ST GEORGES WHARF – Tesco Express

ST JOHN CLERKNWLL – Tesco Express

ST JOHNS WOOD – Tesco Express

ST MARGARETS TWIKENHAM – Tesco Express

ST PAULS LONDON – Tesco Express

STORRINGTON – Tesco Express

STOTFOLD – Tesco Express

ST. KATHERINE’S DOCK – Waitrose

STRATFORD UPON AVON TESCO, BIRMINGHAM ROAD, STRATFORD-U-AVON, CV37 0UA

STRATFRD BANBURY RD- Tesco Express

STUKELEY MEADOWS – Tesco Express

SUNBURY-ON-THAMES TESCO EXTRA, STAINES ROAD WEST, TW16 7BB

SUTTON CHEAM TESCO EXTRA, OLDFIELDS ROAD, SUTTON, SM1 2NB

SWAINS LANE HIGHGATE – Tesco Express

TABARD SQUARE LONDON – Tesco Express

THEYDON BOIS – Tesco Express

THORPE BAY – Tesco Express

TORQUAY LYMINGTON – Tesco Express

TOTLEY SHEFFIELD – Tesco Express

TRAFALGAR SQUARE – Tesco Express

TWICKENHAM EXTRA, MOGDEN LANE,ISLEWORTH, GREATER LONDON, TW7 7JY

TWICKENHAM LONDON – Tesco Express

UNTHANK RD NORWCH – Tesco Express

VALLEY PARK SOUTHAMPTON – Tesco Express

WANSTEAD – Tesco Express

WATFORD EXTRA,239-241 LOWER HIGH STREET, WATFORD, HERTS, WD17 2BD

WATLING RADLET – Tesco Express

WEST BYFLEET – Tesco Express

WESTFIELD SHOPPING CENTRE – Waitrose

WEST HAMPSTEAD – Tesco Express

WEST ST ROTTINGDN – Tesco Express

WESTMINSTER BRDGE – Tesco Express

WESTERN RD BRIGHTON – Tesco Express

WHITE CITY – Tesco Express

WIMBLEDON – Tesco Express

WIMBLEDON HILL – Tesco Express

WIMBLEDON METRO,OLD TOWN HALL, THE BROADWAY, GREATER LONDON, SW19 8YA

WINCHMORE HILL – Tesco Express

WINDSOR – Waitrose

Please let us know if you have any difficulties finding AQUAPAX in any of the above stores. Sometimes we’re in the fridge and other times on the shelf – co-ordinating a retail listing isn’t as straightforward as you think… 😉

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I went to the eThursday event at the Corn Exchange in Brighton yesterday evening where Dr. Alex Krotoski (aka the high priestess of social media) revealed herself as a genuine guru in her field.

She is one seriously nice person with a charming and disarming honesty that you can’t help smile at. She spoke generously about her background influences as well as all the tech stuff people were expecting and answered all the questions thrown at her with a considered and full explanation.

I’m pleased to know that I’m not the only one who believes facebook is on its way out and that a real friend is someone you talk to instead of ‘throwing sheep’ at – it’s apparently a facebook thing which I wouldn’t bother with if you haven’t heard of it…

She didn’t necessarily explain why social media has taken off the way it has; no-one asked that question specifically, yet still I wonder…

Social media is a term I didn’t grow up with. There again, we hadn’t ever heard of bottled water or mobile phones in those days (even the new fangled cordless phone versions were pretty chunky) and computers were something banks used instead of calculators… note to self – stop rambling Neil.

But I do remember that when we walked anywhere or went on holiday as a family, my parents would acknowledge neighbours or strangers with a polite greeting and encourage us kids to do the same – not quite as clichéd as in ‘The Truman Show’ but there were definite human acknowledgements and interactions with passing strangers.

I genuinely believe the passing of one of the age old customs of ‘tipping one’s hat’ to a stranger is in some way part of the reason why social media has become so popular today. I believe we all need interaction with our fellow man and that by and large we’re not ‘getting it’ in our daily lives. Talking to strangers on a train or bus puts me into a very small minority category of the populace – hence many of us sign-up to blog or twitter and worse to ‘follow’ strangers; somehow connecting with them and commenting on their musings, without ever meeting.

I do know that ‘harnessing’ (a word that used to have an association with a horse) social media is important for any challenger brand like mine. I do so want to embrace (even hug) the wonderful people who demonstrate their individuality every day by buying AQUAPAX, but it’s sometimes very challenging to find the time to ‘blog’ at the end of a full shift. Keeping up with ‘doing social media’ has become something of a chore for me, rather than the creative release that it started out as. I’m more of a people person than a pc person.

I confess I’m a user and fan of twitter – as the hopefully not too outrageous 140 character musings on the right will testify, and I wonder whether the longer term trend and an increasing workload will move me away from blogging to more cryptic tweets as a way of saying hi… The fact is that I want to tweet a lot more than I do, but I don’t. This is strangely out of a respect for those people who are following me, a lot of whom I’ve never met, who probably don’t want to know every time I have a cup of coffee or what my personal political jaundice is.

My favourite moment of last night was when Dr Aleks (she likes being called ‘Dr’) made the following random (and clearly heartfelt) statement as the microphone was moving around the room: – “man I’m loving this AQUAPAX water – isn’t this great branding?”

I told you she was nice with her self proclaimed ‘funny accent’ she pronounced it in an odd way, but she certainly made my evening with her human connection to ‘my baby’.

Have a wonderful weekend whatever your doing; whoever you are… 😉

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It’s less common than you think – I was reading this piece put out by ACE UK on sustainable material awareness and it highlights to me the non-contiguous government policy and plainly evident absence of common sense regarding making any impact on climate change. Should we be surprised from a bunch of bureaucrats who needed the independent media to point out how to fill in an expenses claim form?

From my own efforts I know central government will not engage with us on their blanket VAT rates for retail products. These don’t discriminate between the carbon sensitive and carbon intensive (aka AQUAPAX carton vs any other bottled water). They are really good at passing enquiries between various departments and the reason there can’t be any change is always “something beyond control”.  Their whole thinking process appears to be driven by what a particular rule says, irrespective of whether it makes any sense or not, nor its intended application. – I wasn’t going to use the expenses scandal as an example again, but now you mention it… 😉

I’ve written to my MP’s (the one representing the community I live in and the one in the community I work in) and finally got an off-piste response from one (ignored by the other) clarifying how important the issue is and effectively underlining how they champion recycling initiatives which focus on recycling carbon intensive products / technologies; quietly ignoring more sustainable materials which I’d asked about. There was also a hair brained paragraph about potentially rewarding recycling with M&S vouchers!

I’ve previously blogged on the politics of recycling and said it all before – whichever way you look at it the government’s recycling policies don’t make a great deal of sense…

Does make me wonder why we tolerate incompetence in government and why someone hasn’t come up with a better way of staying in touch with the zeitgeist. Message to DC – call me if you’d like some truly innovative thinking when you and your buddies start looking at this mess and wondering how to clean it up.

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Opportunities I mean – you wait forever for the one you want and then 2 come along at the same time… it’s certainly been like that lately, hence my absence from writing.

We partnered with Estethica for their press day at the London May Fair hotel on 11th November. Estethica is officially the British Fashion Council’s eco sustainable initiative and it’s now in its seventh season. During that time it’s evolved to become the epicentre (and the collective conscience) for London’s ethical fashion industry and it was an honour that they asked AQUAPAX (the conscience of the bottled water industry) to partner with them for this prestigious and premium quality event.

The day was a tremendous success showing there’s no need to compromise on design or style while remaining true to one’s personal and professional ethics. Despite some seriously ‘off-piste’ questioning at the start of the open press session, everyone agreed it was sensible for Estethica to maintain a separate stance to the core BFC press day, where they otherwise risk being marginalised by the big name classics.

I even managed to meet my son for a ‘pie and mash’ dinner near London Bridge later in the evening, which is something we haven’t done for a long time.

As if that wasn’t enough activity for one day, I’d started the day in Lewes (East Sussex), where the students at Sussex Down College were presenting the output of their Digital Media ‘motion graphics’ module. These incredibly talented individuals used AQUAPAX as their challenger brand to support with a series of viral ads, created to spread the word of our more sustainable mineral water against the corporate communications might of ‘the big boys’. At this point I’d very much like to publicly thank both the students and their tutors, particularly Sue Bamford and their professional animation tutor Sarah Bird – her work is awesome if you have the time…

The videos are now posted on you tube and if you search for AQUAPAX, you’ll see there’s quite a quirky collection gathering… (or click & follow this link) They range from seriously professional to… well, make up your own mind. Some students got a little close to simply condemning plastic bottles as opposed to actually promoting AQUAPAX, but as the group were kind enough to do this work for my brand, I wasn’t going to try and influence or control their output.
As a brand owner, this loss of control to a group of students could be perceived a brave (or foolish) decision, but I believe a brand exists in an open form, to be embraced (or not) and ultimately shaped by its consumers. How else would our brand have ended up within a ‘monty python’ style wacky but imminently watchable video?

Sure advertising can try to control consumer perception of a brand, but as a marketer, I’m conscious that brand interaction becomes more intimate once the ‘buy’ decision has been made; during the consumption phase or post purchase remorse as we were taught when I was a student.

Appreciating this isn’t a normal experience with a consumable like bottled water, it’s the iconic AQUAPAX design – thanks again SunHouse – which helps us build an emotional connectivity with our customers. As the retail price points for AQUAPAX and the plethora of plastic bottled stuff are broadly the same, our design led brand image has become our real brand attribute.

Anyone who’s read my blog (or tried our water) knows our product quality is superior but providing it can at least live up to and reinforce initial consumer perception of our brand promise (which it absolutely does) I believe that’s a more important brand attribute than me trying to tell consumers what their brand perception should be. Perception is reality as my friend Chris used to say.

Our French distributors have a slightly different perspective to my ‘let it be’ approach and you can see their incredibly professional animated video film in the same ‘you tube’ space if you type in our brand name, or follow my tweet link on the right. I respect the wonderfully collaborative creative work from Drinkyz and their partners at Scorpio Music and love both the funky imagery and the music itself; yet at the same time, there’s a shorter video from a Sussex Downs student called David Rosser which absolutely nails brand AQUAPAX in just 15 seconds!

Speaking of busses (I was in the beginning) I’m off to see Vegan Routes tomorrow in Brewer St. Soho, where AQUAPAX is the beverage of choice in their fine new vegan restaurant on board a renovated and quality converted 1967 Routemaster bus… Maybe we can meet there for lunch one day 🙂

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Between 22 and 25 October the art world turned out in force to celebrate the 36th FIAC in Paris. 210 galleries exhibited the work of 4,200 artists, with works prominently housed at the magnificent space within the ‘Grand Palais’ and at the ‘Cour Carrée du Louvre’ – the world famous museum known by all and visited by many.

I can assure you that seeing a series of paintings by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon in real life is pretty impressive, especially considering the way our AQUAPAX cartons seemed to blend so perfectly into their incredible surroundings, but my personal favourite was a piece of art created by Kader Attia. I saw this on my walk between the Grand Palais and the Louvre, where the outdoor projects in the Tuileries gardens were some of the most creative and large scale pieces on show.

Cymbales, tiges de bambous

The artist in question had created a work consisting of cymbals, installed slightly above water level in a large octagonal basin. The cymbals were all displayed in different angles, so each produced its own resonance, when affected by rain, wind, or indeed the sound of coins being thrown by enthusiastic visitors. The weather in Paris was spectacular for my visit, so I didn’t get to see how the rain impacted the piece, but I certainly ‘got it’ and to directly quote the artist ”Nature always transcends culture” – at least for me it does! leaf me alone i'm reflecting

The core sponsors for the FIAC event (for the past 4 years) have been the Galeries Lafayette, which has a common ambition as the FIAC, to promote creative energy and to see the whole city come to life for art. AQUAPAX at Galeries Lafayette1
AQUAPAX has recently partnered with Galeries Lafayette, which is why AQUAPAX was the water sponsor for all of the exhibitors during this magnificent art festival. Roll on 2010, especially if the weather is as wonderful as 2009. AQUAPAX at Galeries Lafayette2

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I can’t help wonder why decision making is sometimes so difficult. Are we afraid of ‘no’ or do we genuinely not know? This has been a frustrating fortnight for ‘maybe’, ‘possibly’ and ‘might’ – the financial markets may be recovering quite well, but there’s a hard core of ‘no decision suits me better’ out there which has to change if the economy is to pick up properly.

Commitment is a wonderful thing because it gives the impetus to go forward. Foundations can be laid and plans developed while positive actions are taken towards the execution of whatever has been decided. Once decisions are made, there’s no need to wait for anything and that same decisive action is now needed to kick-start the business world back to life.

In our own small way, we’re going for it and we’ve agreed to sponsor this year’s Chalgrove Live Music Festival. The way I see it, there will be 20 bands playing to an audience of a few thousand over 3 days from Friday evening 7th to Sunday evening 9th August. It’s a far more intimate affair than Glasto and unlikely to be as muddy… It’s also a perfect opportunity for families to enjoy their own music festival and let’s face it, music is a wonderful thing if you can enjoy it with people you love.

Why did we choose this particular festival this year? Well we’re scaling back a little, paying homage to these prudent times, but it’s still getting us out there in the Oxfordshire community, which is one of those areas where Aquapax doesn’t yet have great representation. (come on Oxfordshire businesses – your residents need Aquapax.) So there’s the strategic rationale, whereas on a human level, the fact we agree with the CLM ethos as a fun for the family fund raising festival (lots of f’s) which donates its profits to noble local charities is right up our street.

The Chalgrove Live Music Festival website seems to be having some issues right now, but we hope to see you there in any case. Find me on the Saturday if you want to talk opportunities – after 2 nights in a tent I get a little sleepy… 😉

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