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Chilly’s new sustainability campaign shows ‘radical marketing’ done right

I’m sure most people have either seen or own a Chilly’s bottle. It’s stylish, contemporary and convenient. 

It’s also part of a global effort that has encouraged people to be more conscious about their consumption habits. Founded in 2010 with a mission to accelerate the adoption and everyday use of reusable products, its values for sustainable futures are integral to the product and brand. 

Chilly’s latest campaign is calling out the nation’s largest water bottle brands to adopt reusables

The company has not stopped there. Its long history of activism and campaigning has reiterated campaigns liking to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ to encourage a circular and more sustainable economy. Just last year, the company launched a campaign to coincide with Cop26 to showcase just how much plastic we throw away. 

Last week (16th June) marked World Refill Day and saw Chilly’s team up with City to Sea, an environmental organisation, for its ‘Dear big water’ campaign. Headed by Uncommon Creative Studio, this campaign targeted three of the UK’s most popular water brands: Evian, Highland Spring and Fiji Water stating ‘we’ve redesigned your bottles to make them reusable’. 

Vans had also visited each of the brand’s offices with every vehicle depicting their designed water bottle, alongside an open letter asking ‘Let’s chat’. 

Furthermore, a coalition of more than 400 international organisations have written a letter, demanding that the world’s five biggest plastic polluters – Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestlé and Procter & Gamble – commit to “transparent, ambitious and accountable reuse and refill systems”.

“World Refill Day aligns with Chilly’s core values of raising awareness, and creating large-scale, international change,” Tim Bouscarle, co-founder of Chilly’s, explained. “This year, we wanted to go bigger than ever. It’s not enough just to encourage the general public to ditch single-use plastic and refill their water bottles – we need large-scale, household-name brands to step up and finally take responsibility for their role in plastic pollution.”

A pretty daring attempt to confront brands that are way larger than you to influence positive change in the sector, but not surprising for a company with such bold values and mission objectives. It’s reminiscent of a concept by Sam Hill and Glenn Rifkin who wrote a book titled ‘Radical Marketing’. 

In this fresh, provocative book, Sam Hill and Glenn Rifkin identify the marketing strategies that have enabled ten innovative companies to emerge as industry leaders. What do these organisations have in common? Each is in tune emotionally with its customer base, allowing them to glean superior marketing insight without spending millions of dollars. Each is more focused on the big picture—growth and expansion—rather than short-term profits. And, despite their current success, each started out with little more than a passion for their product. Engrossing, informative, and invaluable, Radical Marketing demonstrates how any company, large or small, can achieve unprecedented success through inventive and revolutionary tactics.

Chilly’s has strong engagement with its core audience and knows that approaching a very urgent and important discussion topic such as the climate crisis would resonate strongly with its customers. This sort of marketing is effective in ‘rounding up your troops’ and ensures they remain active and loyal to the brand. And as the book entails, there’s a lot to unpack from campaigns like this…

  1. Radical marketers have very strong visceral ties with a specific target audience.
  2. Radical marketers tend to focus on growth and expansion rather than profit-taking.
  3. Radical marketers tend to be very resource-constrained and are forced to make do with marketing budgets that are far smaller than average. 

Chilly’s is an example of utilising and leveraging values that strongly resonate with its audience and customer base as a form of ‘radical marketing’. It’s smaller than the brands its targeting, but its influence expands to its audience who will pressure these brands to be a part of change and reinforces it’s foothold presence within the market space. 

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