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Perrier makes China splash with social-media bubble-popping game

Perrier is leveraging China?s popular Weibo social media network to build brand engagement with a mobile bubble-popping game.

?Liberate and Win? marks the sparkling bottled water brand?s broader rollout in the China market. The campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Shanghai, enables consumers to interact with the brand while reinforcing the idea that it deserves to be drunk more often, and not just on special occasions.

?We recognize the importance of engaging and educating our local consumers to be closer to our brand,? said Teresa Leong, international brands marketing manager at Nestlé Sources Shanghai Ltd. ?So we created a fresh and relevant campaign to engage them instead of just adapting a global campaign.?

Social pressures
The game, open through Sept. 5, is designed to virtually liberate young white-collar professionals in China who might feel constricted by work and social pressures, according to Graham Fink, chief creative officer at Ogilvy & Mather China.

Players scan a QR code or log onto on their mobile devices. No application download is required. The game automatically loads after players sign in through their accounts on Weibo, a Chinese microblog often described as a combination of Facebook and Twitter.

The game?s objective is to burst as many bubbles as possible, increasing chances of winning a variety of prizes, from Perrier branded drinking glasses and notebooks to dance lessons.

Players can also win personal photography sessions, disc jockey and music production courses and personal styling sessions. The winners? experiences will be stitched into a film shared on Perrier China?s Weibo account.

The game is optimized for play on iOS and Android devices across the company?s Web and mobile platforms in the Chinese mainland. It continues Perrier?s efforts to combine brand entertainment with gaming.

Perrier Web site home page.

Last year, Perrier unveiled a Secret Place global marketing campaign across its Web and mobile platforms to entice consumers to participate in the ultimate secret party in Paris. The digital interactive feature film let users live out the experience through the eyes of 60 different characters at an exclusive party. 

In 2011, Perrier developed a then-unique marketing program that used mobile Web sites, QR codes and interactive voice response technology to attract consumers and cultivate loyal customers. The Le Club Perrier summer campaign focused on a YouTube video that changed and evolved as the number of people who viewed it increased.

Badge of success
Perrier, an all-natural, sugar-free and calorie-free sparkling water, has been in China for years as a high-end brand distributed to upscale outlets in Tier 1 cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. It appeals to increasingly wealthy Chinese who see drinking it as a badge of success.

Although Perrier is often used as a mix with spirits, its sales volume in China is relatively tiny given the country?s vast population and size. The brand?s violent bubbles are foreign to Chinese tastes, according to Muriel Koch, Nestle Waters? marketing manager, quoted in Beverage Daily.

?Liberate and Win? fits with Perrier?s strategy to reach Chinese customers on mobile phones they have with them constantly.

?Our target consumers are married to their phone 24 hours a day,? Ms. Leong said. ?A mobile game is one of the most effective ways to engage them, whilst educating and entertaining them too.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.