The launch of the first “Despicable Me” movie in 2010 spawned the highest-grossing animated franchise of all time, all centering on the , those little yellow creatures the Minions. For parents especially, there is no escaping their popularity.
Boxed Water -- the water brand differentiated by its shape and packaging content -- recently deployed the popular characters for a collaborative partnership with a purpose. CPG Insider caught up with Boxed Water Vice President of Marketing Katrina Shah to discuss Minions Boxed Water, and how the release fits into the brand’s broader purpose.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What can you share about the Minions Boxed Water partnership?
We launched “Minions” cartons with Universal, featuring the characters Kevin, Bob and Stuart from the “Minions” franchise. Our focus was on Minions planting trees.
We have been partnering with the National Forest Foundation and introduced a promotion where every time someone posts to social media the hashtag “#betterplanet” we plant two trees. The partnership underscores the tree planting initiative by showing Minions planting trees -- including on the cartons and accompanying tote bag.
Consumers don’t have to purchase Boxed Water to do this, though. All they have to do is post online. Through the partnership with the National Forest Foundation, we’ve helped plant 1.5 million trees, which is pretty staggering.
Where are the trees being planted?
The effort covers all national forests in the U.S. The National Forest Foundation has been good about making sure the trees are going to the places where they need them.
How does this relate to some of Boxed Water’s other sustainability initiatives and partnerships? Are you concerned about offsetting what’s used in production?
We also work with an organization called One Tree Planted. Our relationship with them is more focused on urban planting around neighborhoods that need tree covers. We’ve helped fund projects in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orlando.
Boxed Water sources from renewable forests in its production, so it’s not really about offsetting production. We look at it as a relationship that gives back.
Moving away from plastic is obviously beneficial, but is there still a tension between sustainability and a commercially produced single-use water product compared to reusable water bottles?
We always say reusable water bottles are best. That’s what people should be looking at first. Where we fit in is when you don’t have your reusable water bottle. Instead of buying a plastic water bottle because you’re thirsty, or canned water, we provide a more sustainable alternative.
Boxed Water cartons are reusable as well, which is another way they are more sustainable than plastic bottles or aluminum cans.
Can you speak to consumers’ increased interest in environmental impact and sustainability? How does Boxed Water compare to other offerings touting their sustainability?
Consumers have become more and more savvy. A lot of consumers are now aware that single-use plastic is bad. There’s 69 billon bottles made every year and only 5% are recycled, and that rate is always going down.
Right now,there are a lot of brands touting water in aluminum cans. Aluminum cans are recyclable. However, only 45%-50% are recycled. A large percentage of new cans are made from virgin aluminum -- meaning those materials are mined from the earth, which requires a tremendous amount of energy, and involves ozone depletion and smog emissions. Aluminum is becoming bigger and bigger, but aluminum is not the answer. Plastic and aluminum are both not great for the environment.
We feel proud about where we’re at with 92% plant-based materials, with 5% aluminum and a tiny bit of plastic in the cap, but there are always ways to improve upon that, and we’re constantly striving to make our cartons more sustainable.