Evian Flips Its Bottle: 5 Questions With Danone VP Olivia Sanchez



Over 100 years after water from Évian-les-Bains, France, was poured into glass bottles and sold, the Evian company is again introducing a new technology: a bottle with a convenient sports cap, ideal for working out or being on the go. And it’s doing that alongside a new spokesperson, rising tennis superstar Madison Keys.

Evian has already made its mark in the tennis world, maybe more than any other non-tennis brand. Evian’s tennis brand ambassadors include Maria Sharapova, Lucas Pouille and Stan Wawrinka. Madison, only 22, has been predicted to be “No. 1 in the future” by none other than Serena Williams.

We spoke with Olivia Sanchez, VP of Marketing for evian parent Danone Waters of America, about Evian’s decision to introduce a sports cap and the social campaign #evianBottleFlipChallenge, and its interest in tennis in general.

brandchannel: How did evian come to partner with Madison Keys?

Olivia Sanchez / evian USAOlivia Sanchez (right): When planning the launch of the 750 ml sport cap, we knew immediately that Madison Keys would be the perfect partner. We were looking for an ambassador that effortlessly represents the evian “Live Young” philosophy — living a vibrant and healthy lifestyle.

The supremely talented, twenty-two-year-old Madison is the first American woman to debut in the top ten since Serena Williams 17 years ago. Madison is someone we can all admire, a role model for all ages. Her tenacity, commitment to health and flair for style are just some of the reasons evian is honored to partner with Madison Keys, the first American sports ambassador to be linked to our brand.

brandchannel: Tennis is big for evian and Keys joins Lucas Pouille, Stan Wawrinka and Maria Sharapova as Evian ambassadors. Why is evian so deeply embedded with tennis and how does it choose ambassadors that match the brand?

Sanchez: Evian has a longstanding relationship with tennis, as seen with our 32 year sponsorship of the US Open and over eight years with Wimbledon. Tennis is one of the most exciting and dynamic sports to watch and is also closely aligned with style, elegance and prestige. evian’s relationship with the tennis community has helped drive brand preference and elevate the brand as the premium water choice.

We choose ambassadors who inspire. What you’ll notice is that Lucas, Maria and now Madison, are all incredible, technical athletes who inspire us to be better. They are also strong ambassadors of our “Live Young” philosophy — a positive and universal value and openness to the world and the unexpected, and embracing a vibrant lifestyle in everything you do.

brandchannel: How did the #evianBottleFlipChallenge come to pass?

Sanchez: With the news of bringing in Lucas Pouille and Madison Keys, we wanted to find a way they could connect with our current ambassadors Maria, Stan and Lydia Ko, in a fun way for their fan base and our brand followers. We’ve been following the Bottle Flip Challenge online and thought, what better way to connect all five of them.

The principle behind it is to perfectly flip, in the most incredible possible way, a partially full bottle in the air and have it land upright on its bottom. We thought the ‘Bottle Flip Challenge’ would be a fun idea to have our ambassadors challenge one another to an epic and sporty challenge using an evian bottle with their own skills.

brandchannel: Evian is trading in the light blue cap for a functional “sport cap” for the first time. Other brands have done similar caps for a while. What prompted evian to develop its own?

Sanchez: We are a generation on-the-go and evian is thrilled to offer a product that caters to our customer’s busy lifestyle. We wanted to develop an on-the-go product that was premium, sleek and stylish, and one that evian customers feel good about taking with them.

The evian sport cap has always been red and it was time to upgrade to our new sleek design, which fits easily into your cup holder, or bag as we go through life always on the go.  What we love about this bottle is the cap, which flips open and stays open while you’re on the move.

brandchannel: The 750 ml sport cap bottle is billed as a new innovation for evian. How do new technologies inform a very storied brand specializing in a product that is what one might call “pre-tech?”

Sanchez: Evian has always been a pioneer. We were the first bottled water in the US almost 40 years ago, we were the first brand to use recycled PET in our bottle and we’re committed to keep innovating to meet the needs and demands of our customer. We look to consumer and lifestyle trends to bring a portfolio that is truly life integrated, be it on the go or at a beautiful restaurant. The need for a product that was convenient, could travel with our consumers, and be used during a variety of activities inspired us to create the new cap and leverage our sleek design for the bottle.

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