Boxed Water and Lollapalooza team to think inside the box

Innovative start-up, Boxed Water, tapped to be the official water of the popular three-day music festival in Chicago.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, June 26, 2012 In advertising, we have been taught to think outside the box and eat outside the bun. Yet, one of the most innovative branded concepts may reside in the box itself. 

Boxed Water has found success in the simplicity of both their concept and their message. 

The concept is simple. It’s bottled water without the bottle. They donate 10% of profits to water relief foundations and another 10% to reforestation foundations. The box is recyclable. 

They are the TOMS Shoes of the beverage industry. A company with a responsible conscience that allows the consumer to feel a sense of pride by associating with the brand. Coupled with engaging social media and it’s no wonder that they have developed a brand loyal community. 

The message is also simple. The package reads “Boxed Water Is Better” in bold type. Is it? This Summer, up to 300,000 fans at Lollapalooza will answer that question. Boxed Water is now the official water of the popular music festival. 

I can tell you I’ve had it. I like it. Enough to want to write an article about it. Although, I also saw a historically accurate movie this weekend about the time Abraham Lincoln once fought vampires. So, I’m not a role model. 

Benjamin Gott, founder of Boxed Water, was kind enough to talk about his innovative company and the beverage industry as a whole.   

1.  How did Boxed Water start? 

We didn’t have any previous experience in beverage - which led to some rather comical stories as we navigated a world that we now know is played in by giants for the most part.

The idea of Boxed Water was really a rather simple one: be more sustainable, be more efficient, and be philanthropic. We had very little capital to get it rolling so we spent a lot of time on the front end creating a design that we hoped would stand-out on shelves and tell the story well.  

We started it because we think its the job of creative minded people, entrepreneurs, to come up with solutions - steps forward - for problems that exist. In this case the problem was that the bottled water market keeps growing, people are certainly continuing to buy, yet its become a huge target in the environmental space.  

It’s a behavioral thing. This multi-billion dollar a year industry isn’t going to go away over-night - especially globally - so the package and the approach needs to be re-thought and Boxed Water is our first swing at it.

2.  What is unique about your positioning?

Well, we’re unique in the beverage space in that we’re actually getting it on shelves. There are lots of proposed ideas, some of them fascinating, but its tough to actually land on shelves.  

It’s a tough thing to go from concept to being on a shelf - way harder than we thought. I can say though that I really hope more ideas like ours hit the shelves soon - I’d love to see more money invested in totally new packaging solutions.

3.  What is next for Boxed Water?

We think the package we have now is just the first step. The first step in all of this was simply to see if people would look at us as an option when purchasing bottled water.  

Now that we are somewhat over that hump (we’re still a small company) we’d love to explore even more sustainable packaging. There hasn’t been a ton of traction in the compostable packaged goods space - and I think thats the next big push.  

Technology hasn’t quite caught up with everything the public wants - yet. I’m excited that we have created a brand that will be able to get those new technologies to market as they are made available - and we’ll be able to do it quickly with our existing retail network - even at our still small size.

4.  Who has been helpful along the way?  Mentors, investors, etc.  

You know, my previous experience in the supply chain world was really insightful on working to be more efficient with flat packing the cartons before they are filled and seeing how other brands operated.  

That was 6-7 years ago, but it was really interesting to see how it worked for other beverage brands and how things could be done more efficiently. Our investors have been amazing, I put in the very small initial round to prove it in the market, get it on the shelves, etc, but my close friend Rick DeVos and his family have made it possible to grow to where we are.

The people who have been the most helpful along the way would have to be each and every small store owner that placed our products on their shelves. Every single store matters to us as a small operation - we’re extremely thankful to them.

5.  Who are you looking forward to seeing at Lollapalooza?

I’m quite excited to see “The Weeknd” perform live.  


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Jeff Barrett

Jeff Barrett is an experienced columnist and business leader. He has been named Business Insider’s #1 Ad Executive on Twitter, a Forbes Top 50 Influencer In Social Media and has previously written for Mashable and The Detroit Free Press. 



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