How a bottled water brand got global exposure without breaking the bank

Photobombing. Definition: the action of spoiling a photograph by unexpectedly appearing in the camera’s field of view as the picture is taken, typically as a prank or practical joke.

It’s not the most obvious marketing strategy for a challenger water brand.

For a start, wouldn’t they have to be famous people’s photo’s in order to get any kind of media exposure? And how do you do that without really annoying the people in the photo and the press photographers taking them? Wouldn’t they get you moved out of the way and just re-take the shot?

Not if you’re clever about it.

And a brand called Fiji Water was. And it’s not a new thing. They’ve been reaching their target audience like this for a long time. It’s actually been their long-running marketing strategy for almost ten years.

But at the Golden Globes Awards Ceremony last Sunday, the whole thing went global.

A woman wearing a blue dress holding a tray laden with Fiji Water appeared in the background of photo after photo on the red carpet.

“Before the widening eyes of the internet, Fiji Water Girl — as she has become known — morphed into the year’s first show-stopping meme,” Business Insider reported.

This particular Fiji Water Girl’s name is Kelleth Cuthbert, a Los Angeles model and a brand ambassador for Fiji Water. She was actually one of several brand ambassadors carrying Fiji Water at the Golden Globes. Why Cuthbert has gone viral more than all the others over the years is a mystery. But that’s the thing about virals. Sometimes we don’t really know exactly why they suddenly explode, they just do. Fiji simply did a great job of being in the right place at the right time.

For more than a decade, Fiji Water has proudly maintained a presence at high-profile events, including major award shows, international film festivals and movie premieres, Fiji said in a statement.

As the official water sponsor of the Golden Globes, Fiji Water, along with its Fiji Brand Ambassadors, hydrated guests on the red carpet and during the star-studded show, the statement continued. Fiji Water will continue to hydrate more of Hollywood this coming awards season.

Billboard Women’s Music event, December 2018
At the 33rd Independent Spirit Awards, March 2018
And way back in 2012 at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

Of course, the other great thing about this from a budget point of view is how relatively little this will have cost the brand. Paying to be the ‘official water’ of an event even as big as the Golden Globes wouldn’t cost a great deal in marketing terms. The events must now be kicking themselves at just how much bang for their buck the sponsor has now received.

Fiji Water have reminded all of us in creative marketing, that often, what you really need is different thinking.


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