SINGAPORE: I Lohas, the bottled water brand owned by Coca-Cola, has won the inaugural $5,000 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy.

The Prize, which received almost 140 entries – all now available on Warc – from 13 countries across Asia, recognised the best strategic thinking in the region.

After assessing ten papers which made it through to the final round of judging, the panel of 14 senior clients and global strategy experts handed top honours to I Lohas for the entry "Crush Eco: A Simple Choice Can Change the World."

Written by David Elsworth, Coca-Cola's vice-president, creative excellence Japan, the case study detailed the history of I Lohas from its launch in 2009.

Elsworth, who is donating the $5,000 Prize to a disaster relief charity following the earthquake that struck Japan in March, suggested the case of I Lohas offered several transferable learnings.

"Winning the Warc Prize for I Lohas is particularly gratifying, as it is a brand which leaves a legacy beyond its category," he said.

"It has built a massive market share through strong strategy [and] breakthrough creativity, but is also making a positive contribution to sustainability and environmental action."

The brand uses 'crushable' packaging to give consumers the opportunity of doing something simple to help the environment.

More specifically, the core strategy turned the main strength of the brand's competitors – namely, that they were imported – into a weakness.

Prize chairman Miles Young, chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, argued the disruptive qualities of I Lohas have been essential in achieving success in the market and accolades within the industry.

"The Coca-Cola 'Crush Eco' entry stood out for the bigness of its thinking," he said.

"Here we saw strategy deployed at the highest level, literally as a game changer, turning conventional thinking upside down."

The I Lohas launch in 2009 has previously been recognised by a number of marketing awards.

It picked up a series of gold awards at the Asia Marketing Effectiveness Awards 2010, and was a finalist for the global 2010 Warc Prize for Ideas and Evidence.

The paper entered for the Warc Prize for Asian Strategy extends the case study into the brand's second year, when it consolidated market leadership position and more than doubled sales. This month I Lohas is on course to become a billion-dollar brand.

Nine entries to the Prize have also been named as Highly Commended:

  • Cafe Viet: Are you man enough? (Nestlé Vietnam/Lowe)
  • Gillette Mach3: WALS – Women Against Lazy Stubble (Procter & Gamble India/MediaCom)
  • Dove: Winning in China (Unilever China/Ogilvy & Mather Shanghai)
  • Banking on 'New Standards' to drive business for Citibank (Citibank/Publicis Hong Kong)
  • How culture codes helped Cadbury Dairy Milk create a new chocolate occasion in India (Cadbury India/Ogilvy & Mather)
  • How ringing the bell can reduce violence against women (Breakthrough Foundation/Ogilvy & Mather)
  • The Anlene Movement (Fonterra/BBDO)
  • Crush eco - A simple choice can change the world (Coca-Cola)
  • Stride Japan Launch (Nihon Kraft/McCann Erickson)
  • Axe: 'Call Me' (Unilever/BBH)
More comments from Young, and notes from the judging, are available here.

India actually led the way in terms of entries overall, as 32% of submissions, and 52% of the shortlist, either featured campaigns from the country or included it within their purview.

Telecoms was the most-represented client sector among all entries, representing 17% of entries. However, in the shortlist, food was the best-represented sector, making up 20% of entries.

Prize entrants used an average of 7.6 media channels each. Television was the most popular medium, with social media the next most common channel.

For a detailed analysis of the core trends observable among the entries to the Warc Prize for Asian Strategy, available for free, click here.

Data sourced from Warc