Bottled water is convenient and healthier than high-sugar soft drinks. It is readily available, comes in a trendy bottle and it’s all yours. Hollywood writer/producer Kevin G Boyd has developed a “luxury” bottled water called Bling H20 that costs an average of $55. The bottles are available in limited edition frosted gasses and covered with Swarovski crystals. The following will highlight the typical customer for Bling, facts on Australian’s bottled water industry and a few ethical issues concerning bling.
Geographic A geographic segmentation is identifying and analysing the location that a company is looking to move into. (Adam K & Armstrong D, 2008) The premium status and pricing, that bling put on their product would narrow the geographic segment to the economic centres of Australia, these being Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Furthermore, these areas can be additionally segmented; suburbs where there with high -profile and social standing people; the most anticipated customers of bling. For example, Northern Beaches.
Demographic The demographic make-up of a potential market is made up of the age group, income, occupation, gender, race, education and religion. (Adam K & Armstrong D, 2008) After reviewing the media on bling and the website the demographic profile for bling would be 20 – 35 year old female with a high level of disposable income. Those with disposable incomes are looking to increase their social status within the community.
Psychographic In psychographic segmentation, buyers are divided into different groups based on their socioeconomic status, lifestyle and personality. (Adam K & Armstrong D, 2008) In accordance with bling, the socioeconomic status of a typical customer would be a high disposable income earner. Because of this, their lifestyle is less ‘money-conscious’ and have the ability to buy luxury goods without the need to budget. These lifestyles are all about them, they don’t need to seek approval from anyone- only the recognition of their social status.
Behavioural Behavioural segmentation enables buyers to be grouped on the basis of their knowledge of the product, their attitude towards it, the way they use it and their responses to it. (Adam K & Armstrong D, 2008) There are many bling customers who use the brand to enhance their user status. They only buy the bottle on special occasions; special dinners, weddings etc. The benefits from bling are that of social status and class by drinking bling users would be setting themselves apart.
As this is marketing focused, the 4 P’s for Bling include: Product: Bling H20 Place: Prestige locations with high-profile people. Also in expensive restaurants and bars. Promotion: Bling is advertised in high-society magazines like Vogue, rather than magazines like Women’s Weekly. Price: Depending on the bottle and the size prices range from $40-$2,000. Do you bling? There are two types of bling customers.
Both are young, (20-35) and both place a high importance on their external image. One type would shop rodeo drive style on a daily basis. Ie celebrity. The other type of customer is one that would buy bling as a fashion statement; they buy the bottle and constantly fill it up with alterative water to maintain the same effect. The product is strategically positioned to target the expanding “super-luxury” consumer market.
Australia’s Water! Water is becoming a trendy drink in our lives – with Australia’s demand growing by 10% each year. 10 years ago your typical convenient store would sell 2 or 3 brands of bottled water. Today, these same stores fill entire displays with dozens of different bottled all dolled up in the latest silhouettes and labels. More than 1000 brands are available in Australia, ranging from market leaders such as Coca-Cola Amatil and Schweppes to Neverfail water dispensers. (http://www.bottledwater.org.au/scripts/) The bottled water industry in Australia is worth approximately $400 million and spends more than half a million dollars a year on bottled water. (www.ibisworld.com.au/industry) “The biggest costs in bottled water are in the packaging. Everyone wants to create a bottle that’s more attractive, more flexible, more ergonomic. It’s the holy grail” says Jon Marshall from Sanitarium. (http://www.smh.com.au/articles)
Social Issues Ethical Issue #1 Bottled water is being looked at as a serious environmental issue. The main packaging for bottled water is plastic, making it a less than appealing product for the environment. Although the plastic bottled water comes in is recyclable, Australians are only recycling around 35% of the bottled water they purchase. As a high end product, Bling H20 has been dealt with heavy accusations of the environmental damage for such a high cost. One person commented on the plastic bottle issue. “Sad commentary on our society. We spend big money on bottled water when the tap is healthy, using plastic bottles made from oil to hold it and filling up land fills with plastic bottles. Too bad we don’t use some of these resources to help those in the world who don’t have healthy water” he said. (Frauenfelder M, BoingBoing.net)
Ethical Issue #2 Most of the world is without water, yet there are people out there willing to spend anywhere up to $2,000 for a bottle of water. This pricy drink has been a popular discussion on the social media network. A review of social media surrounding Bling H20 a large percentage of blogs condemned bling for being over priced and had concerns about water being sold at such a premium when much of the world is without clean water.
The ethical issue isn’t surrounding the price. The product itself is marketed to those who can afford it, the real concern is the disadvantaged countries lacking water. One blogger commented, “$55 for a bottle of water to feel chick and the same chic people still walk by the homeless without a second thought. Says something about our times, doesn’t it? But it’s the individual who has to decide exactly what it says.” (Sassis Sam, sassissamblog.com)
Ethical Issue #3 Kevin G Boyd the creator says he noticed that you could tell a lot about a person by the bottled water he/she carried. Right from the start, this product was made for people to bling. In Hollywood it seemed as if people flaunted their bottled water like it was part of their presentation. But whether the bottles had a cool shape or came from an exotic island, Boyd felt that none truly made that defining statement.
Bling H2O was fashioned to make that statement. (Boyd K G, blingh20.net) The ethical issue concerning this, is it right to flaunt around a water bottle as a fashion statement-using sexist photos, crystals – anything to appeal the bottle. The interactive comments section of BoingBoing raised the issues of the importance of social status and that it is reaching ridiculous levels. (Frauenfelder M, BoingBoing.net)
Marketing Strategy As a hypothetical scenario, if you were the brand manager for Bling, a possible marketing strategy would be to associate themselves with one of the many charitable organisations, more importantly those that are helping provide clean drinking water. An organisation like Charity Water is able to provide a person with clean drinking water for $1 a year. If Bling H20 were to donate a percentage of each bottle sold to a charity such as this it would control the concerns over the ethics of the company and leave the image issue with those who buy it.