Coca-Cola Bets on Gal Gadot to Create Splash for SmartWater

Gal Gadot helped save humankind as Wonder Woman. Now she has a new mission: Getting the world to drink more of a particular kind of water.

Coca-Cola’s smartwater has struck a promotional alliance with Gadot that will make her the beverage’s new ambassador. She will appear in video that will surface in social and digital outlets and be featured prominently in out-of-home media, including the famous Times Square sign in New York City. Later in the year, smartwater, which has typically relied on influencers and celebrity endorsements to augment its profile, will launch its first TV commercial.

“You will see her in a lot of different places” enjoying smartwater, says Celina Li, vice president of water for Coca-Cola North America, in an interview. “And in the real world as well.”

Coca-Cola acquired smartwater when it spent $4.1 billion to buy upstart beverage concern Glaceau, which also makes vitaminwater, in 2007. Since that time, the market for water has been flooded with interest from big beverage companies. Coca-Cola also makes Dasani bottled water, and is readying the launch of AHA, a sparking-water beverage, in March. Rival Pepsi makes Aquafina and launched a different sparkling-water brand, bubbly, in February of last year. National Beverage Corporation has found success with another water brand, La Croix.

Glaceau enjoyed a memorable period of teaming up with celebrities. The company enlisted rapper 50 Cent and Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz, among others, and in its earlier days, even offered some of the personalities stakes in the firm. When the company signed Ortiz in July 2006 to promote vitaminwater, it said he would take part in tasks ranging “from partnering with glaceau at charity events to providing feedback on the development of new varieties and labels.”

Coke thinks smartwater fills a valuable niche that is set to grow. “What we have noticed is that the premium water consumer is drinking more water and is demanding more from water. They live busy lives and want to pursue well being as a balance to those lives,” says Li. “We really think this brand can be a mega brand, and have an offering for every hydration moment that comes into our lives – traveling, working out.”

Executives feel Gadot “embodies what our consumer is looking for, and what smartwater stands for,” says Li. “She takes a smart approach to well-being, physical, mental, across different moments of her life. “

Bottled water was once more aspirational, and brands like Evian and Perrier tried to catch a small piece of a market more interested in sodas and sugary drinks. Now, with consumers focused more on health, bottled water has since 2017 been the most consumed beverage in the United States, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., an industry consulting firm.

The smartwater brand is poised to expand. Coca-Cola says the overall packaged water business in North America “generated nearly as much retail growth in 2018 as all other nonalcoholic, ready-to-drink categories combined.” Coca-Cola recently introduced smartwater alkaline and smartwater antioxidant, which drove the majority of the brand’s sales growth in 2019. This year, the company will introduce lightly flavored, fruit-infused spa waters in four different flavors:  cucumber lime; watermelon mint; strawberry blackberry; and pineapple kiwi.

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