SNL star Pete Davidson promotes “smarter choices” with Smartwater

Summer is in full swing, and leading water brands are hoping to capitalize on people’s need to stay hydrated, especially as they enjoy the great outdoors. Coca-Cola owned Smartwater recently teamed up with Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson on a post-Independence Day campaign to promote hydration. During two in-person events in New York and California, Smartwater declared July 5th “Rehydration Day” and offered consumers Smartwater-filled kegs labeled “smartkegs” while leveraging visual displays, photo ops and other activities.

During the omnichannel campaign spot, Davidson is seen in a chair getting tattoos removed while he talks about the bad choices he’s made. He ponders whether his decisions were affected by dehydration. The campaign takes advantage of Davidson’s dry sense of humor and his real-life goal to have all his tattoos removed, which he said could take “two more years.”

In the US, sales of bottled water have grown every year since the 2009 recession, and in 2019 the International Bottled Water Association reported that bottled water outsold soft drinks for the fourth consecutive year. A surge in flavored water purchases has contributed to this momentum as well, with Hint Water growing its revenues nearly 50% in 2020.

The beverage industry has been challenged during the pandemic as single-use bottle sales dropped significantly while people stayed indoors. Coca-Cola said its global unit case volume in March returned to 2019 levels, but its Dasani and Smartwater brands still reported volume declines of 12%.

With clever marketing and more widespread vaccine distribution, Smartwater and other water brands are likely to enjoy greater sales in the coming months. Leveraging comedy at a time when a lot of people need some levity in their lives seems like a wise marketing decision. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, Smartwater consumers in the US are near the top for those who enjoy watching comedy television. The brand is neck-and-neck with Perrier and San Pellegrino and five percentage points ahead of Nestle among comedy watchers.