Clorox Collaborates with Target to Market to Millennials   

By Pat Lenius

The Clorox Co. wants to transform the way Americans drink water.

The company launched its new Brita Stream water-filtering pitchers in Target stores a year ago with eye-catching one-piece endcap displays that showed the product in action. The shopper engagement and resulting sales are a textbook example of the power of in-store marketing.

The stylish and convenient Brita Stream is perfect for Millennials. Having its water filter in the pour spout of the pitcher reduces or eliminates wait time, which is sure to please these 22- to 37-year-olds. Nearly 80 percent of them regard health and wellness as the leading component of living the good life, but they want a fast and easy way to achieve this, according to Liz Tung, National Shopper Marketing, The Clorox Co.

The company knew it needed a smart retail strategy and a focus on key customers to drive sales of a water filtration product in a market where 10 million bottles of water are consumed every hour. Tung said it would take a visual demo or hands-on consumer experience to achieve a 70 percent increase in purchase intent.

“We needed stopping power in the store to drive excitement and engagement,” said Sandy Oldaker, manager of consumer promotions for The Clorox Co.

Tung, Oldaker and Abbey Oslin, Account Supervisor, Catapult Marketing, discussed the Clorox collaboration with Target in a workshop, “Insights-Based Growth Elevating a Brand Through Collaborative Activation,” at the Path2Purchase Summit held recently in Schaumburg, Ill. The Summit, an official event of the Path to Purchase Institute, was produced by EnsembleIQ.
Clorox selected Target as its initial retail partner for Brita Stream because Millennials who shop there are looking for style, something special, and seek a great value.

“This is a great strategic partnership,” Oldaker said. Partnering with Target was critical to the water filtration category and to the short-term and long-term success of Brita Stream. “When Target gets on board, [that] can resonate through the entire marketplace.”
Clorox told Target to “dream big” at its introductory meeting, where the company first shared its vision for the launch of Brita Stream. The water filtration category had been on the decline, but this was a breakthrough product that could drive market share and bring more customers to the home goods department. It included a consumable – a filter that would have to be replaced – bringing customers back to the store.

“We recognize convenience is the number one parameter,” Tung said. Brita Stream has filters that last three times longer [than other water-filtration products]. She pointed out that it will cost $35 for a one-year supply of filters versus $450 for a year’s supply of bottled water.

Target and Clorox collaborated on an integrated national and retail support plan that combined shopper marketing dollars with national dollars.

“We worked together on a launch plan and had a breakthrough in how we talk to the consumer. We also reduced TPR activity – there was no price reduction at the shelf or in-store,” Oldaker said.

Other key players in the launch included the ISM Group for the in-store experience, Rapid Displays in-store, and retail marketing agency TPN along the entire path to purchase.

Knowing that Millennial customers were unlikely to visit Target’s home goods aisle where Brita Stream was displayed, Clorox and its partners worked on an in-store display that would clearly communicate the new water filtration technology in three seconds, said Oslin of Catapult Marketing.

“We needed to do something disruptive and put ourselves into the Millennials’ lifestyle,” she added.
The display conveyed how the product worked without any words, but its message was compelling enough to drive traffic down the aisle, where shoppers could see the Brita Stream outside of its package and learn more about its design and the colors and styles available.

The in-store displays were up at least four months and included a battery pack that powered a quick, educational and powerful video that drove purchases.
In less than six months, Brita Stream became the number two pour-through system following Brita, Oldaker said, and Target is the market leader for Brita Stream. However, the launch was not exclusive to Target.

The Brita national brand team and national account team were constantly in communication with Catapult Marketing, the Target team, and Rapid Displays, Oldaker said. “Execution was seamless and we were disruptive,” she asserted. “Success metrics were set with retail.”

There were three parameters:

  • Top line sales
  • Drive market share for Target
  • Simple, easy execution. 

Aware that Millennials were not looking for an alternative to bottled water, Clorox first began its launch of Brita Stream with a focus on breakthrough awareness. It messaged influencers for content so Millennials could read reviews on its websites from people they trust.

Next, the company developed an amusing commercial starring NBA basketball player Stephen Curry and rapper King Bach about the “Best Roommate Ever” that became a YouTube sensation. In it, King Bach finds his Brita pitcher left empty in the refrigerator by his current roommate. He then fantasizes about having a more considerate roommate like Stephen Curry and launches into a rap and dance performance. At the end of the commercial, the rapper discovers how easily the Brita Stream can be refilled and how it will deliver fresh, filtered, good-tasting water with no delay. Curry, whose name is associated with speed, serves as a spokesman for Brita Stream.

Bottled water continues to be an enormous traffic builder at retail, Oldaker said. Clorox hopes to cause some disruption in that space.

“This is a journey that will take time,” Oldaker said. “It still has great momentum. We see improved trends in the category. Convenience is king. We have a strong partnership [with Target].”

                                                                              April 2018
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