Product / ServiceAQUA
CategoryG08. Market Disruption


Name Company Position
Mark Verhagen Wunderman Thompson Indonesia Deputy Executive Creative Director

Why is this work relevant for Media?

“Don’t See This Billboard” is AQUA's attempt to disrupt urban Indonesians who are still going out at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. The counterintuitive yet simple message subverts the consumer's expectation of a billboard's purpose, turning it into an effective channel to serve to serve the brand's objective: reminding those who are still out and about that they should be at home, being safe, and staying hydrated.


Despite being the pioneer and market leader in the bottled water category for the past 47 years, AQUA struggled to make the brand relevant and appealing as the bottled mineral water category turned into a generic commodity. When the pandemic hit, AQUA’s burden doubled. With the majority of the population quickly retreating indoors, bottled mineral water category is one of the first category that quickly felt the impact of the pandemic to their sales. While the rest of the mineral-water brands reacted by shifting their out-of-home consumption proposition into indoor consumption (and cancelling their out-of-home advertisement), AQUA chose not to be trapped in the rat-race of reactive marketing. Instead, it chose to serve a bigger purpose: standing up to provide guidance and goodness in the face of extreme uncertainties as a way to regaining market share and increase penetration in the new reality of life in a pandemic

Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)

A nation-wide crisis required help from a nation-wide brand. As the nation faced a once-in-a-century situation, confusion and uncertainty reigns a people have scattered understanding of the true risk of the situation and they had limited guidance from the authorities. AQUA realised that despite the confusion, the communal culture of Indonesians have actually equipped them with the ability to tackle the crisis: they have strong value that believe that we come together, we can tackle any difficulties that arises. This is the spirit of gotong royong, a movement from the people who came together and encourage others to do their part to help others. So AQUA build on this good value to create a bigger impact to the nation, reminding every Indonesians that they need to come together and each do their part for the good of the nation: which starts with staying at home.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

In Indonesia, the epicentre of the pandemic were some of its most populous provinces: Jakarta and Bali. With over 15 million citizens in both provinces combined, lax lockdown implementation and no restriction in mobility between cities, the pandemic can quickly spread across the populous Java island - and from there, the whole nation. AQUA realized that the communal and outgoing citizens of these two cities were struggling to adapt into living indoors, and they need to get significant and constant reminder that caught them whenever they are outside. Hence, we chose the largest billboards in the busiest areas in provinces and turned them into a looming reminder that will not be missed by those who passed those areas. The billboard is then spread across secondary cities in Java island as well, such as Malang and Banyuwangi, targeting especially cities with high mobility rate.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

As AQUA wasn't really there to sell anything but to remind people to stay at home, we chose to create a copy-based creative execution that stands out from the rest of the typical outdoor ads. While many brands started to cancel their out of homes, AQUA's billboards stood out among the rest even more. Reaching exactly those caught outside, who were supposed to be at home. AQUA's "Don't See These Billboards" wasn't just getting attention of those outside, but many were taking photos of it, posting them online and reaching millions of people online. The copy-based billboards were so popular, netizens created memes and their own version of staying from home.

List the results (30% of vote)

Billboard caught the eye of Indonesians and generated > 2,000 organic posts on social media in the first week alone, reaching over 119 million people online. Some even turned the billboard into a meme, playing on its 'For the First Time Ever" copy as way for them to express their experience coping with the lockdown. The mass attention made its way to digital mass media and TV coverage, with value estimated between IDR 500-750 million, and social media reach valued at IDR 240 million. Reminding people about their power as a community also helped to increase the brand's equity to 50.7 at the end of Q2 2020, the highest level in 5 years. This sentiment was also reflected in a consumer survey done by SWA, a leading business magazine in Indonesia, that puts AQUA as the top mineral brand of choice by Indonesians during the pandemic.

Please tell us how disruption in your market place inspired the work

With this work, AQUA disrupts the market at two levels: First, it breaks away from the category that is struggling to shift their proposition indoors, showing that AQUA serves not only healthy hydration but also inspiring them to become the source of goodness through the simple act of staying at home. Second, this work disrupting the daily activities of urban Indonesians who are still not following the call to stay indoors. It subverts the audience' expectation of what a brand's billboard message should be, halting them on their tracks and reminding them every time they step outside that they should be at home, being safe, and staying hydrated.


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