Warc has again teamed up with the APSOTW – or the Advertising Planning School On The Web, to give it is full title.

This excellent initiative, run by a team of senior planners from across the world, poses challenges for up-and-coming planners and marketers. It's a chance to show off your ideas in front of a seriously, seriously senior line-up of judges.

We're lending a hand by carrying and promoting their challenges here on the Warc Blog and hopefully highlighting some of the ideas that come out of them.

You can view the previous challenges we helped out with here, and read an introduction to this latest challenge here.

Now, over to Andrew Hovells for details of the new assignment…

SoBe V Water is a zero sugar, high vitamin drink with natural sweeteners. It's only 10 calories per bottle. The sweetness comes from Stevia leaves, a totally natural source that isn't well known in the UK.

It comes in a range of flavours you can explore here. The product comes in clear bottles and it looks like coloured water. SoBE know this is important because the clearer the drink, the better people think it is for them.

They have great distribution in two major UK supermarkets, where you'll find it in the aisle between energy drinks and juice cordials. These are in six-packs. You can also find it in the chiller, in single bottles, in the fresh sandwich section. SoBe Water is also stocked in the major service stations on busy UK motorways – in chillers again.

They are not in gyms or anything like that, which are mostly sewn up by Vitamin Water already, the undisputed leader of healthy flavoured water.

They have invested little in the brand in the UK: sales have mostly come from distribution.

Those sales need to build rapidly, or the brand will be de-listed by the retailers and probably pulled out of the UK altogether.

They are selling two million units a year and they need to double those sales in the period June 2014 to June 2015.

90% of those sales are coming from the supermarkets, 10% from the service stations. What is interesting is that those sales are coming from people who have tried the brand and seem to quite like it. SoBe always wins hands down in taste tests against Vitamin Water.

According to their panel data, the top 20% of buyers drink it 20 times a year, while the rest drink it on average five times a year.

They did a sampling exercise with Hot Yoga, as they suspect there's something in natural, active health. It went quite well, in that those who trialled claimed they'd buy it themselves.

That core 20% of heavy buyers over index on being interested in Yoga and Pilates.

While there has been little investment in the brand, and there is no clear brand essence or anything like that, the brand comes from South Beach, an upscale part of Miami, all sunshine, outdoors and perfect bodies. They were scared that in modern, austerity Britain, the luxury US health image wouldn't play and wanted to give natural health a different role in the UK.

The rest of the buyers do not have the same interest in Yoga and Pilates, but they do ALL agree with statements like, "I believe you get out of life exactly what you put it", "I prefer to be active but I don't have the time", "I like to choose products that feel more natural", "I want to look my best whenever I can" and "I would consider holistic medicine".

And they're 80% women.

The product is 10% less expensive than Vitamin Water, the main rival in the market. The marketing team believe this has driven sales performance, such as it is. So price cutting isn't really an option.

Whatever is done, the retailers are demanding a national campaign that shows SoBe is prepared to invest in the UK market.

So your brief is: present to the client, in no more than 20 slides, sift through that very wide brief with a very specific business task to show how communications can help with the problem.

I want you to:

  • Define the issue at the heart of business problem: What does that sales target look like in human terms? What do you need people to DO?
  • Explain the core insight that will unlock the problem: It might be a consumer insight, it might be cultural, it might be about how people shop.
  • Detail your core idea: What is the fundamental task communications will address?
  • Describe what that looks like as a plan: I'm not expecting a detailed media plan, I am expecting you to define the two to three pillars of your plan and the role for media within this.
  • Add some value: What communications can they not do but they should consider?

This is not about creative execution, it's about a core task for creative, media, experiential (or whoever needs to be involved with where you're getting to) to work from. This is everyone's jumping off point.

Your budget is £1m. That's not enough to a do a big national campaign. It's enough do something integrated including TV with a VERY defined national.

Finally, the brand is owned by a US company. They don't care too much about what you do in communications, brand is VERY loose, as long as you make sure the brand comes across as natural and healthy.

You have until Friday 2nd May to deliver a (no more than) 20 slide powerpoint by email. It will be judged by myself, Gareth and Rob. Be aware that your submission will be published unless you tell me your prefer otherwise. I'll edit the collective feedback into one document.

Good luck!!