H2Orange, a new bottled water in a detailed scale-model replica of the iconic University of Texas at Austin Tower, also has an altruistic aspect: a portion of the profits raise money for academic scholarships at UT. Brenda Thompson Communications was hired to orchestrate the launch and ongoing PR for H2Orange, created by Steve Gurasich and Tim McClure, the G and the M in renowned advertising agency GSD&M.
H2Orange represented a first-of-its-kind partnership between a cause-marketing movement and the University of Texas at Austin, and we worked closely with the University before, during, and after the launch.
Our services on behalf of H2Orange included:
- Developing messages for all key audiences
- Creating the press kit and collateral materials
- Media relations, including the launch news conference in the UT Tower
- An event for investors in the President’s Office at UT
- Social media strategy and planning
- Investor communications
- Internal communications at GSD&M
- Crisis communications
- Managing relationships and communications with UT, Texas Exes, and Austin’s environmental community
Social media a major strategy for H2Orange
Social media was a major strategy for H2Orange. We created a movement that people wanted to join because simply buying a bottle of water could help fund scholarships. We used Facebook, Twitter, and created an interactive H2Orange website to engage the hundreds of thousands of UT alumni and fans, create relationships with H2Orange’s key customers, and leverage word of mouth. We also used social media to create interest and demand for the product outside of Texas, through social media fan pages and sites.
Examples of our social media tactics included asking UT fans to send photos of themselves with the bottle at interesting locations around the world, a UT trivia contest using the fun fact items on the backs of H2Orange bottles, and launching conversations about the need for funding for scholarships and how to re-use H2Orange bottles.
The environmental impact story
We were prepared to answer questions about the environmental impact of H2Orange, and that planning paid off as a number of individuals and organizations took issue with bringing a new plastic water bottle to market. H2Orange’s mantra was “Reclaim. Repurpose. Recycle.” The brand purchased carbon credits to offset the impact of manufacturing and bottling, and discussed plans for a metal bottle in Year Two.
- The most well-attended news conference at UT since the announcement of the football team changing conferences (according to UT’s director of communications)
- More than 200 news stories, including a front-page article in the Austin American-Statesman and an Associated Press story picked up around the world, higher ed and beverage trade press, university newspapers, and more
- Features in UT’s alumni magazine, Alcalde, and in newsletters and emails to the 170,000 Texas Exes in the state