Vitamin Water Wave

VitaminWater is a brand I like. Not only have they created their own category, “enhanced water,” but they’ve done it breaking a lot of the rules. How many brands can you think of that make under the table references to other brands in their branding?

No brand is safe. Thighmaster, Old Irish Spring soap, Metamucil, the Justice League, Underoos and “athletes named Ned” have all been humorously referenced on bottles of VitaminWater. Even their Formula 50 flavor, which was endorsed and inspired by rapper 50 Cent, pokes a little fun at “Fiddy’s” platinum jewelry and bulletproof vest.

What Human Talk lessons can we learn from VitaminWater?


1. Create your own category.

This is obviously easier said than done, but it’s surprising how taking an idea just one simple step farther can put it into a class of it’s own. We’ve seen sports drinks, energy drinks, juices with vitamins, water and flavored water, but not until VitaminWater was there “enhanced water.”

2. Break the rules.

Don’t be afraid to be the rogue brand in your market. Safe is risky. Secretly everyone has a rebellious side, but very few have the guts to challenge the status quo and create their own path.

3. Don’t be afraid to screw up.

No one’s perfect. You are going to fail, and you’re sure to get called on it, but that’s the cost of breaking rules and leading a new category.

4. Make em’ smile.

This is priceless advice from Bill Gammell from the ÜberEye Marketing Blog. Bill writes:

If you have a chance to make someone smile, do it! A smile is such a small but very powerful gesture. When you smile, you can’t help but feel good. Whether a customer smiles because of your product, your frontline employees, or from the overall experience they received, your customers will remember you (and maybe even blog about you!).

Thanks to Bill, who both inspired and suggested this Human Talk post. Below are a few more clips from VitaminWater labels for your enjoyment!

Vitamin Water Label Energy Revive

Vitamin Water Label Essential Focus

Vitamin Water Label Power-c Triple-x

Want more? Be sure to check out David Taylors’ dissection of the Vitamin Water wars in the UK.


This post is part of the Human Talk series. 

If you would like to contribute your good or bad Human Talk examples, Email me. I’ll accept photos, stories, videos, audio, etc. and give credit where credit is due.