Water Stars in New Ads For P&G’s Pur Filters

Water is better when it’s not in a bottle. That’s the theme behind Pur Water Filtration’s new “Voice of water” TV campaign breaking this week. Owned by Procter & Gamble, the brand is taking on the besieged bottled water segment with a $45 million-plus campaign which taps Scrubs star Zach Braff as, literally, the voice of water.

“I’m water. I shouldn’t be trapped in a bottle. I’ve got things to do. Trees to grow. Thirsts to quench . . . ” Braff says in the first TV spot. Supporting print ads, which debut in November magazines, read: “I don’t need a cap and a label. I look better naked.” Tag: “Pur. Good, clean water.”

After years of double-digit growth, the bottled water category grew less than 1% for the first half of the year, per Beverage Digest, Bedford Hills, N.Y. Price, safety and the  wastefulness of discarding  plastic bottles are among the factors affecting the category.

“The bottled water backlash is hitting a fever pitch,” said Eric Yaverbaum, co-founder of Tappening.com, which promotes tap water. “We’ve had water filters for years and no one cared. But, no one was talking about whether or not bottled or tap water was safe. This is a great opportunity for them.”

Bruce Lux, brand manager at Pur North America, agreed: “There is a lot of confusion [about safe drinking water]. We’ve definitely seen an uptick because of this confusion.”

Pur filters are No. 2 in the category. Sales grew 9.7% to $22 million for the 52 weeks ending Sept. 7, per IRI. Brita was up 8.1% to $61.4 million.

P&G spent $45 million in measured media behind Pur last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Lux said media spending will  increase for the new effort. TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, is Pur’s agency.

While Pur’s past efforts focused on the functional benefits of the filter, this is the first time the ads will talk about the water. Said Lux: “It’s an opportunity for us to talk about solutions, not just the issues.”