DeVito Turns On the Tap

DeVito/Verdi here is planning a multi-pronged campaign for a new water brand, backed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., that will funnel profits to water-protection groups.
The May launch of Keeper Springs will employ the theme “Good for you and the environment” and mix print, outdoor and radio ads with a smattering of “out-of-the-box stuff,” agency president Ellis Verdi said.
“This is really an opportunity to make a mark,” he said. “We want to be on everybody’s minds very quickly. The messages are going to be very strong and powerful.”
Spending will be modest–from $1-2 million–because at first, the product will be distributed only in the New York tri-state area. Backers aim for a national rollout within two years.
Kennedy, who came up with the idea while skiing in the Catskills, approached about 10 undisclosed agencies before selecting DeVito, which has produced sassy ads for New York magazine and Daffy’s.
“They understood what we were talking about right away,” said Kennedy, an outspoken environmentalist who co-founded the company, Tear of the Clouds, with fellow activist John Hoving and lawyer Chris Bartle.
Asked how Keeper Springs will stand out from the scores of other, better-funded water brands, Kennedy said: “Ours is the only one where 100 percent of the profits will go back to protect water supplies and it’s going to be subjected to the most rigorous testing.”
Keeper Springs will compete against such popular-priced brands as Pepsi’s Aquafina, Perrier’s Poland Spring and Dannon.