Perrier Drops It Like It's Hot

One of the underdiscussed aspects of the viral-superclip era is how it has given rise to what one might call brand delusion. In the hands of a less-than-self-aware marketer, the web video can morph from a simple promotional artifact into an exercise in reality-denial and/or-reconfiguration. You see it every day: "We view ourselves a certain way. If you don't, you're wrong and we're right and please like us on Facebook."

This half-assed notion reentered my mind upon receiving an email that commenced with the following clumsily punctuated flourish: "Sensuous, stimulating and hedonistic are three words that normally are not top of mind when describing water unless it's Perrier Sparkling Mineral Water." Huh. Isn't Perrier kind of the Diet Dr Pepper of snootypants bubble-water? I've never associated Perrier with high-society galas or topless throwdowns on Paul Allen's yacht; indeed, I wouldn't be surprised to see it on the drink menu at Pizza Hut.

That's why "The Drop," in which Perrier positions its aqua-vittles as thirst-sating supermodel nectar, is the most inadvertently silly brand video in months. In a single 119-second stretch, Perrier throws any number of wishful-thinking brand fallacies against the wall, hoping that one will stick. The clip posits that Perrier is the beverage of choice in the world's cushiest sitting rooms; that Perrier's appeal transcends race, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status; and that Perrier is without peer as mid-summer lubricant. That last one in particular kills me. Does Perrier do brisk business at beachside cafes around the globe? Has anyone ever seen a gym-goer reach for an icy Perrier after an intense workout? If you can present a scintilla of evidence that speaks to Perrier's utility as a cool-off beverage, please send it my way. I'm genuinely confused by this claim.



Anyway, the film - any video over 30 seconds in length now qualifies for categorization as "film," at least in the world of hysterical press releases - kicks off with the world on the brink of extinction, with some kind of super-sun about to fry civilized society to a crisp. This flaming destructo-orb cannot be tamed, liquefying lipstick in the process and prompting otherwise gallant Frenchmen to lower the knots on their neckties by one-eighteenth of an inch. Happily, there's potential salvation in the form of a supermodel cosmonaut who hitches a ride to space in a translucent pod.

As the camera lingers over scenes of heat-related unpleasantness – a stray beam setting a newspaper on fire, socialites and peons alike daintily mopping their dewy brows - our fearless protagonist zips her way into the stratosphere, an encased bottle of Perrier at her side. From afar, earth's inhabitants monitor every twitch of her excellently landscaped eyebrows, for it is she and she alone who can deliver them from broiler-pan misery.

When she arrives at the sun, the planet holds its collective breath. After a quick sashay down the space runway and some de rigueur hands-on-hips Frenchy supermodel insolence, she prepares to pour the Perrier on the seething orb… but thirst gets the best of her, as it often does when one is positioned mere inches away from a 64 kajillion megajoule fireball. As the good, sweaty people of the world watch in disbelief, our gal gulps the Perrier greedily. Ah, but a stray drop lingers on her lip; when she flicks it onto the surface of the sun, it makes everything better and the sun de-heatifies and everybody hugs and cheers and oh what a happy day it is.

So yeah, the unlikely pairing of Perrier and time-compressed space travel should prove a real balm when the mercury rises this weekend. Adjust your plans accordingly.

5 comments about "Perrier Drops It Like It's Hot".
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  1. John Jainschigg from World2Worlds, Inc., June 28, 2012 at 5:07 p.m.

    ROFL. Just ... ROFL. Beautifully written. Punctures all pretensions. You go, Mr. Dobrow.

    I even _like_ Perrier, if it's what's on the table, despite past Benzene scares. But after reading this, I am totally going back to ordering Diet Coke at Pizza Hut.

  2. Christopher Weakley from Virgo, June 28, 2012 at 7:41 p.m.

    Larry, I enjoy your reviews but I try not to read them before clicking on the link to whatever campaign you are commenting on. When I watched this spot, two things came to mind. One, it was made in France (by Ogilvy Paris as it turns out). You can tell by the way it's directed. Two, it was made for the European market. Perrier has long been positioned as a refreshing drink in Europe. My in-laws, who are French, keep Perrier in the fridge, Coke in the cupboard. It is definitely something they would reach for at the beach or the gym. If you look at any campaign for a non-alcoholic beverage produced in Europe over the last 20 years, it is going to be about beating the heat. These products are heavily advertised in the summer, when people are at the beach on their long government-mandated vacations. Beaches are hot places. And so are European homes, which do not have central air conditioning. So for me, this ad makes perfect sense. I'll bet my French in-laws would love it.

  3. Jared Mazzaschi from Future Pilgrim, June 28, 2012 at 8:34 p.m.

    I thought the "film" was cool. Ok not exactly cool, but you know, kind of amusing in a Euro-silly way.

    Maybe it's an age thing; I don't know how old you are Mr. Dobrow. When Perrier first hit the market in America it was very much considered "hoity-toity" or whatever highbrow euphemism you'd like to use. It was upscale. It had to be because Americans needed to see bottled water as a class thing in order for them to shell out for bottled water. Americans didn't see the sense in paying for water and that Perrier was fancy European stuff was how they got the ball rolling. Just ask any 80's era stand-up comedian. It was only sold in fancier restaurants and bars.

    So there's a theory. Chew at will.

  4. Anne Peterson from Idaho Public Televsion, June 29, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.

    I too keep Perrier in the refrigerator -- does that date me? FYI the new Grapefruit Perrier is awesome on a hot day.

  5. Christina Ricucci from Millenia 3 Communications, June 29, 2012 at 6:53 p.m.

    I think "The Drop" is very clever and artistically impressive. Frankly, I'm surprised so few people see that. And my goodness, Larry -- would you honestly label this film as silly when we have such pitiful creations as the Summer's Eve "Hail to the V"? or Klondike Bars' "Five Seconds to Glory"? or Luv's "Poop, There It Is"? Look at what this film offers: a suffering world, fear, despair, pulses racing as the last hope for mankind takes on the flame which threatens to end the world, the heartbreak of failure, the joy of victory, and the whole of civilization in celebration -- and all in under 2 minutes! Let's face it, with the possible exception of a FEW of the ads on Super Bowl Sunday, we see VERY little in the U.S. with this kind of imagination. Video advertising today is supposed to entertain, to be artistic and unique. The whole point is for people to notice it, to talk about it, to remember it the next day or the next time they're at the supermarket. Unfortunately, we are accustomed to the same-old, same-old; and "The Drop" is definitely not that. I say kudos to Johan Renck. I loved it!

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