In 2008, New York Entrepreneur Craig Zucker began selling tap water (after running it through a reverse osmosis procedure to remove the chlorine) under the name Tap’d NY. He priced it fairly high at $1.50 for a 20-ounce bottle. In this case study we see the marketing brilliance of Zucker, how the media picked up on this and how with the right hustle you can actually take a shot at selling ice to eskimos.
Tap’dNY The Idea
In 2007, Zucker had the idea for Tap’dNY when he realized that the water available on tap in his New York City apartment was great. He discovered that not only did the water taste great, but it was locally sourced and was easy to procure. He founded the company in June, 2008 to offer socially better solutions for bottled water.
The registration of the domain tapdny.com had expired back in 2012 and was restored from the expiring domains list to preserve as a great marketing case study.
The name chosen was surprisingly honest, but what the company excelled in doing was to come up with a series of smart phrases imprinted on the bottles. These were “Bottle Water Without the Funny Accent”, “Without the 6000 mile journey”, “No Glaciers Were Harmed Making this Water”, “Water just like mom used to serve”, “Not from the top of some far away mountain”, “Refills available at any New York City Tap” and “The Anti-Bottled water Bottled water”. The bottles were designed by Lisa Tse Ltd.
They designed a clear bottle with a bright orange and white typeface. A water pipe denoted the cityscape. The design is clean yet contemporary and bold.
Tap’dNY Domain Expiration
Tap’dNY’s website expired in 2009 and could be found for registrations at the GoDaddy Auctions. This is a domain marketplace that allows sellers to list their domains and charges them a percentage of the sale price once the domain is sold. Domains that expire and are not renewed are also listed on the auctions, such as the domain tapdny.com. Expired Domains that are not bid on and purchased by the end of the auction enter into the GoDaddy Closeout list, a 5-day "buy now" reverse-auction for $11. Every day that a closeout domain is not purchased, its price decreases untill it is available for $5. After that it is released into the pool of available domains where it can be purchased by anyone through any registrar.
Tap’dNY’s marketing focus was on it being earth friendly. They urged customers to consume normal tap water or locally-bottled water in their manifesto. They also urged customers to refill and recycle the plastic bottles. They focused on proof of the quality of tap water in New York, linking to the Department of Environmental Protection’s New York Water Quality Report.
Tap’dNY sponsored local events featuring “water pairings” at restaurants. Their first event was hosted by Dogmatic Restaurant giving away Tap’dNY and a few other local treats for free.
Featured in the media
CNBC – Today Show
Tap’dNY was featured on the CNBC Today Show. They tested Tap’dNY against Avian and Poland Spring and showed that a lof of testers could not see any difference between the brands.
ABC Night Line
Tap’dNY was also featured on the ABC Night Line show where five people were tested with tap water, bottled Fiji water and Tap’dNY water and three chosen Tap’dNY as their favorite. Such a small sample size means that statistically the numbers are not significant. However, the masses see this as a 60% preference rate.
REGIS AND KELLY
Tap’dNY was also featured on the Regis and Kelly show where Regis takes a taste test for Tap’dNY, Fiji water and Avian. At the end he is unable to differentiate between the three – definitely a vote up for Tap’dNY.
Saturday Night Live
Tap’dNY was mentioned, although not by name at the end of a Saturday Night Live ski. Even though this was in a sarcastic mode, publicity is always good.
Zucker told us a little bit about his idea, future “water pairings” taking place around the city, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Read more…