Droga5 Picks Up Essentia Water Creative Account Following Review

The agency competed against an initial eight shops

Droga5 is now lead creative agency of record for Essentia. Instagram: @EssentiaWater

Essentia Water announced today their selection of Droga5 as its new lead creative agency of record, following a review managed by Promontory Brands.

Droga5 will be tasked with executing on the brand’s vision and leading strategy across communications channels including advertising, social media and influencer marketing, experiential, corporate website and retail.

Essentia sought a new lead creative agency with “really deep chops of strategic thinking,” Essentia CMO Karyn Abrahamson told Adweek. She was promoted from vice president of marketing and brand innovation in April. She explained, One that worked well with all of their agency partners, including Essentia’s in-house marketing team, to produce “big ideas” that don’t just leverage “creative for creative’s sake.”

Essentia confirmed to Adweek in July that it had launched a creative review. Abrahamson said eight agencies were initially asked to participate, although it is unknown which ones. Essentia then narrowed that list down to three finalists, all of which had to truly be adept in integrated marketing and have a deep understanding of the brand’s target millennial consumer, according to Abrahamson.

“Where Droga5 really shone was in how much time they put into their own research to really understand that millennial consumer,” she noted.

Incumbent creative agency Periscope did not participate in the recent review. The up-and-coming water brand had only retained Periscope, its first creative agency of record, in March 2017.

“We made the decision that they ultimately weren’t the long-term fit for us,” Abrahamson said on parting ways with Periscope. “They put out phenomenal creative work but in terms of scale, they had some areas that did not provide the support we needed.”

Southwest Media Group continues to oversee Essentia’s planning and buying, while DeVries Global handles the public relations account. In two weeks, Abrahamson said Essentia will host an “all-agency kickoff” in New York, during which all of its partners will be briefed in one room to come up with a strategy for the brand.

“Everybody has a seat at the table. … That’s what’s so great about these agencies; they’re so collaborative,” she said. “Droga5 will come up with the lead creative work,” while the other partners provide ideas to support it.

Bothell, Wash.-based Essentia spent $1.3 million on measured media in the U.S. last year and $22,000 in the first half of 2018, according to Kantar Media.

“Branding plays such an important role in the success of a consumer lifestyle product, and the Essentia brand is clearly on the rise,” Droga5 CCO Neil Heymann said in a statement. “They have such a strong, passionate following, and we’re thrilled to partner with them and help them grow this dedicated fan base.”

Although the company is 20-years-old, Essentia only began expanding its marketing efforts with the appointment of Periscope last year. At the time, Essentia was aiming to break through an increasingly crowded marketplace, where beverage behemoths like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have been heavily investing.

“We are in an amazing period of growth and momentum as we work to become the leading premium bottled water in the country,” Essentia CEO and founder Ken Uptain said in a statement. “Our partnership with Droga5 will be instrumental in helping us evolve into a true lifestyle brand.”

In March, Essentia shared that 2017 had been its “most successful year to date.” The company said its product availability is now with 60,000 retailers nationwide and has reached $153 million in measured retail sales over the last 12 months.

Essentia, who claims to be the pioneer of ionized alkaline water, has garnered a lot of attention in recent years from celebrities and socialites like Joe Jonas, Khloe Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin, who have all either touted the brand on social media or have been spotted with its products. The elite praise has been so great that Forbes named Essentia to its list of “up-and-coming brands gaining the most momentum with celebrities” this year.

@kitten_mouse lindsay.rittenhouse@adweek.com Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.