March 14, 2012
Italian lifestyle brand Giorgio Armani is extending its Acqua for Life charity campaign where the brand will donate drinking water to the Green Cross International for each fragrance sold in the Heinemann Duty Free store at Germany's Hamburg Airport.
Consumers have a chance to help children in third-world countries by buying a 50ml or 100ml bottle of Acqua di Gio men's fragrance or Acqua di Gioia women's fragrance. These limited-edition bottles are only available at the location in the Hamburg Airport, but will spread to other European airports in the near future.
"Fresh water has become a cause amongst celebrities," said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami. "The strategy behind it is simple: people buy values today that are consistent with the values as Armani as well as the affluent consumer.
"Hamburg is interesting because as the affluent travel more, luxury brands have to create reasons to buy products where they are going," he said. "So by limiting distribution, you are adding value to the product."
Mr. Ramey is not affiliated with Armani, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Armani was not able to comment before press deadline.
The limited-edition size bottles have been available since Feb. 8 at the Heinemann Duty Free shop at the Hamburg Airport.
Nineteen other airports that have Heinemann Duty Free shops including Frankfurt, Oslo and Vienna will carry the fragrances.
Armani pledges to donate 100 bottles of drinking water to countries helped by Green Cross International. This year, drinking water will be donated to communities in Bolivia.
Acqua for Life poster
The Acqua for Life campaign started last year. On World Water Day, GCI enabled 27,000 people in Ghana, Africa, to have more than 40 million liters of water.
Armani is pushing this effort via digital channels, including posts on its social media outlets and Web site.
Acqua for Life Facebook account
As part of the campaign, Armani is donating $1 to the UNICEF Tap Project for every "like" that it receives on the campaign's dedicated Facebook account.
There is also a video on its Web site and YouTube channel that shows consumers how it is getting involved in the cause.
Armani's 2012 Acqua for Life campaign video
Armani has been participating in quite a few water-related causes.
For example, Armani supported the UNICEF Tap Project with an iPhone application and an effort where the brand donated every dollar for every “like” the campaign received on Facebook last March (see story).
Many luxury brands have been participating in cause-related marketing efforts.
Take Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre, which began its fourth annual auction to benefit the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Program, allowing consumers to bid on a prototype N°1 of the Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph (see story).
In addition, fellow Swiss watchmaker Breitling is looking to increase the awareness of its Breitling Scholars program and raise funds for education through the auction of a collectible timepiece (see story).
Luxury brands typically use charity-related marketing because it makes consumers feel better about buying.
In fact, luxury marketers host events or team-up with charities to create a halo effect around themselves, and some experts believe that affluent consumers respond quite well to this strategy (see story).
"The affluent believe in causes and they believe in doing good," Mr. Ramey said. "When you have all the money you'll ever need, what really matters is what you can do for others.
"By valuing that which money cannot buy becomes extraordinarily important and reinforces the reason a luxury brand exists," he said.
Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York