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Posts Tagged ‘celebrity endorsements’

The media’s full of ‘LFW’ and quite right too – it’s something London’s managed to retain on the international kudos stakes and no matter how hard our bankers seemingly try to screw up the nation’s reputation, creativity continues to flourish!

We had a number of requests for sponsorship support this year which is encouraging in a way considering the folk who must have come to know us through our limited Estethica alliance over the past couple of years.

This year’s ‘beautiful people’ sipping our wonderful water were the guests at the Nolcha Fashion Lounge at the Trafalgar Hotel, held in association with Bel Esprit, Gina Conway AVEDA and AMAKA, all co-ordinated through my lovely friend Lucy at the independent and supreme quality label Tammam. This was one of two events with Gina Conway AVEDA – but the brand is a favourite of mine…

We also assisted the extremely well patronised Ecoluxe Show held at One Aldwych and opened by Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez along with an entourage of journalists… The Ecoluxe event showcased some of the worlds foremost and celebrated ethical designers, hence the celebrity vistors who tend to know their stuff… 

And at an altogether more sedate pace we’ve again worked with our good friends Sam and Valerio over at Gallery Fumi in Tabernacle Street and at their private space on Hoxton Square.

There were other visitors sampling Aquapax at some of the more discrete shows in town, but if I write about those, they’d lose some of their intimacy next year… 😉

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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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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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It’s the final week of Organic Fortnight and we’ve had a great response to our customer promotions. I’ve been doing a series of customer tastings to introduce new customers and say hi to some of our long standing friends, and the atmosphere has been really positive.

Whole Foods Market in particular have got their stores behind the integrity of Aquapax in putting together a great customer offer for the whole month of September. There’s never been a better time to buy Aquapax in town, while out of town, anyone who’s been to Brighton recently without visiting VBbites Café at Hove lagoon, needs to make another trip – yes their vegan food is worth it and of course they serve wonderfully chilled Aquapax.

Next week, is another major milestone in our brief history, as we celebrate The Westminster Collection’s networking event, ‘A Night To Remember With TWC‘, at the Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday 22nd. The exquisitely positioned networking evening has been a complete sell-out, with over 850 pre-registrations. Aquapax is the mineral water sponsor for this prestigious evening, so it will be especially rewarding to see our iconic blue cartons wandering off down the Strand after the show.

At the same time as the TWC evening, Aquapax are also the prime sponsors at the oh so chic and totally inspirational Gallery FUMI launch party in Tabernacle St. and also at the more intimate Gallery FUMI and Studio Toogood Corn Craft dinner at their Hoxton Square venue. Both of these events kick-off their celebrations for the 2009 London Design Festival and we’re thrilled to be a part of the festivities.

The Aquapax ‘water wall’ (pictures to follow) is being designed by the immensely talented Pierric Verger who’s put a lot of himself into getting the wall right. The intention is to communicate the flowing energy of Aquapax to everyone visiting the gallery, as well as to keep the water chilled for those partaking of non-alcoholic refreshment.

Enquiries so far this week include Denmark and Puerto Rico, but then it is only Monday. Who ever said dreams don’t come true just didn’t work hard enough…

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yours truly with the maestro Paul Rankin & his Aquapax

yours truly with the maestro Paul Rankin & his Aquapax

As always, there’s been a lot going on in Aquapax world over the past few weeks. It’s the silly season of shows at weekends and store samplings mid week, so taking a holiday has been the furthest thing from my mind, despite jovial e-mails from folk who read my blog wondering when I’m back.

We had a really successful 3 day Hatfield House Country Show this year, where the good fortune of being positioned next to Miles (the curry sauce man) certainly raised our sampling customer numbers. There was a special atmosphere in the Food Hall, as a few of us took turns at broadcasting the Ashes criscket score to visitors (and one another), causing spontaneous nervous laughter and the occassional ripple of applause. A particularly uplifting moment of the show was when an off duty representative of a well known supermarket engaged with me on why I created Aquapax, leading to an exchange of cards towards the end of the conversation… (watch this space)

The bank holiday weekend just gone was less illustrious, as we took a last minute stand in the Food Hall at the Stoneleigh Park Festival. The event has so much potential, but alas the Food Hall wasn’t laid out terribly well… Life is what we make of it, and in this instance, the time we had as ‘traders’ allowed us to get to know one another socially. The ‘Dunkirk spirit’ kicked in and the ‘celebrity chefs’ coordinated by the professionals at ‘chefs on stage’  were generous in their support of all the trade at the show, encouraging the public to engage and sample our wares. There are a lot worse ways to spend a bank holiday weekend and I’m grateful for the spontaneous social time ‘Neil waterguy’ spent with ‘Curry Sauce John’ & ‘Chocolate Heaven Lucy’.

Speaking of chefs, I met a wonderful Chef called Claire Harbron and get on with her like a lost friend. We’ve got a great alliance going with her and her fellow professionals at the dalston kitchen. They create the iconic ‘dk’ lunch boxes seen at the best photo shoots and outdoor events across town, where it’s a fantastic accolade they’ve chosen Aquapax as their water in the box! Kind of sums up their quality proposition really, which shouldn’t be any surprises for anyone who’s tried Aquapax.

Got a lot more web work to do in the coming weeks with my webtech friend Ian. We’ve discovered a typo on our French site (read carefully) and we also need to create a page for our new Dutch distribution alliance. Also want to plan the site development as the revolution is growing now and I really want to communicate that growth to keep our new recruits smilling. In the meanwhile, here’s something else to keep you smiling – our latest internet advertisement ‘the guillotine’ It’s all go in water world… 🙂

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Life has never been boring and this last weekend was spent enjoying some wonderfully talented bands playing live music at the Chalgrove Live Music Festival in Oxfordshire, where Aquapax was one of their core sponsors.  sunset over chalgrove

The Festival is designed for people to enjoy live music in a family fun atmosphere while raising money for local worthy causes – this year’s charity was ‘crossroads – caring for carers’.

They had 20 bands booked in total and the face painters and fun-fair helped bring a real family feel to this intimate live music fest, which was real fun to be a part of. spiderman likes aquapax

My son and I took a stand outside the beer tent  to offer ice cool Aquapax original (and energy drinks) to the bands as well as for the warm and weary members of the public – drinking beer for 12 hours in serious sunshine isn’t for the faint hearted, although we met plenty of people willing to try! 

All things considered, the event was well run and there were some genuinely nice people there. We had a really enjoyable weekend in the sunshine and it was great that the weather folk got it so wrong on this occasion!

zebra guy at the CLMF 2009

zebra guy at the CLMF 2009

Bands worthy of a mention from this particular critic were:

The Motowners ; Strange Folk (amazing voice) ; Quo Incidence (if you like that kind of thing) ; All Right Now (must be my generation) ; Jiv’in Jules Jazz Ensemble (pity a lot of folk were still in bed) ; The Whoo (?) Ann Duggan (amazing voice) ; and of course The Kommitments (always end with a good boogie…

Coming home to a warm shower and a proper bed are always a bonus of a festival – or any weekend in a tent for that matter!

A bit of good news this week is that Aqua Amore – ‘the UK’s largest water delivery specialist’ has responded to our customer demand in taking on home distribution for Aquapax across London and the home counties, plus wider distribution nationwide. Now the challenge is to dust off the enquiries database to see if we can bring this new alliance to their attention and help generate some home delivery orders in due course.

Tomorrow’s another day in the big smoke and then Friday is looking like a journey to Peterborough beckons. What is it they say about winners never quitting and quitters never winning…

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I had a mailing from Datamonitor (the research people) on Thursday, offering a series of research reports, one of which is headed ‘The Cult of Celebrity’.

Their sales pitch includes the following ridiculous (imho) statement that “Voyeurism has achieved a level of acceptability and marketers need to meet consumers’ needs for accessibility and information on celebrity endorsee”.

The scope of the report apparently includes “Insights into how and why celebrity remains a powerful tool in a marketing context, along with assessments of its limitations and challenges.” And most importantly (please forgive my sarcasm) “Strategic conclusions and actionable recommendations on effectively harnessing the power of celebrity endorsement and branding”.

To me, celebrities who endorse goods for cash are often prostitutes by any other name; degrading skills or any ability they may have unworthily for incongruous personal financial gain.

To me, a product’s integrity has to be the hero and that’s the stance we’re taking. Aquapax is ‘one of the purest natural mineral waters on the planet’ – our brand communicates honestly and stands up on its own as ‘a pure thirst for the environment’ referencing its more ecologically aware package and light (carbon balanced business) footprint on the planet. Having to support an inadequate product proposition by using someone else with no real connection to the product is not somewhere I really want us to go.

SO what else happened Thursday? Well it was world environment day, but you had to look really hard to find anyone who knew… We sent out press releases full of anticipation, referencing how we’re carbon balancing our business impact and the amount of energy a carton of water saves versus an oil based plastic bottle or a pretentious glass bottle (complete waste of carbon) – generally highlighting how we’re working at making a real difference.

A baby emu made the no. 2 item on BBC national TV news on Thursday! Not only was our PR not picked up, I didn’t notice any others on the world environment day subject either. Maybe I should have dropped Mark Corbett’s recent reference to me as ‘swimming against the flow like a returning salmon’ into the press release – I like the noble analogy and that may even have caught a research assistant’s eye.

I find it quite sad – not because our genuine ecological efforts didn’t make the news; journalists appear to have moved on from a subject they don’t really understand or want to spend time researching to more familiar ‘journalistic’ territory of sensationalistic drivel. Where is the next Kate Webb? We need you to write and stir our conscience on this very real subject – not just on world environment day, but constantly, until the message gets through!

A few other things happened on Thursday – some are only shared with those who know me personally – I am SO happy (and exhausted) right now 🙂 . I also did another in-store demo at Whole Foods Market in High Street Kensington, where we had a few export enquiries from North American visitors and 2 more interesting people wanting to understand the ‘potential investment opportunity’. Who needs trade shows – people are people first and if you’re in their frame of reference, they seem to find you.

The final thing I’ll mention was the beginning of something I foresee as a potentially wonderful future with a design guy named Tom. He and his fellow designers had spotted Aquapax in the Sunday Times Style magazine – they ‘get it’ and they’ve approached us to help others ‘get it’ too. Following my intuition makes decisions relatively easy, so watch this space – we plan on helping them (& us) become famous… oh yes, when we are, I promise not to do any celebrity endorsements without all the proceeds going to charity.

Keep smiling – even a lemon tastes good after tequila.

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