Virgin Introduces Fusion Water

The Virgin Drinks Co., with a little help from Mullen/LHC, is preparing to unveil its new line of vitamin- and mineral-enhanced bottled water.

The offering from the Wilton, Conn.-based client, known as Fusion Water, will begin rolling out in several markets this month.

Long Haymes Carr of Winston-Salem, N.C., became Virgin Drinks’ lead agency in April 2000, replacing Ground Zero, Santa Monica, Calif., which had helped launch Virgin Cola in the U.S. in 1998 with the tagline, “Say something.”

LHC’s creative work was first displayed in the form of product graphics, packaging and booth presentation at Fusion Water’s industry launch in December at the International Beverage Show in New Orleans.

Interpublic Group sister shops LHC and Mullen, Wenham, Mass.,were merged earlier this year. Mullen/LHC is now called upon to relaunch the Virgin name in the “new age” market of healthy, vitamin-and-mineral-fortified beverages following the cola’s tepid consumer response in the U.S.

Creative development for radio and outdoor ads, along with possible other media, is still in the early stages; the ads are slated to appear in late April or May in Northern and Southern California and the Northeast, Mullen/LHC vice president and account manager Tim Clark said. The agency plans to expand into other markets where the client has distribution arrangements soon thereafter, Clark said. The budget was not disclosed. A Mullen/LHC-crafted public relations effort is also underway.

“When people think of the Virgin brand, they think innovation and quality from their experiences with the Virgin Megastores and the [Virgin Atlantic] airline,” Clark said.

Fusion Water will be available in five flavors: Raspberry Tea, Lemon Cherimoya, Peach Feijoa, Grapefruit Lulo and Tangerine Mango.

Virgin will distribute the product in Southern California through the Haralambos Beverage Co., in Northern California through the Seven-Up Bottling Co., and in the Northeast through Atlas Distributing, the Farrell Distributing Corp., the Lesco Distributing Co., and Snapple Beverages of Boston. The company also has entered agreements with several distributors in the Chicago, Dallas, and Colorado markets.