Marketing’s Changemakers: Fiji Water on why it’s donating $100,000 to female directors this awards season

Fiji’s signature square water bottles have become a staple at A-list events like the Golden Globes and SAG Awards in recent years, with celebrities like Steve Carrell and Jennifer Lopez taking time out of their red carpet photo ops to sip on the brand’s H2O.

Fiji Water One Sip Forward The Drum Screenchow

It’s no coincidence. Fiji has become the “official water” of a number of awards shows over the last 10 years in an attempt to position itself as the water of choice among Hollywood’s elite.

But ahead of this year’s awards season, Fiji knew things wouldn’t be business as usual. With conversations around #MeToo dominating headlines and spurring the subsequent #TimesUp movement, an initiative penned by stars including Reese Witherspoon and Eva Longoria to fight sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and beyond, the premium water brand wanted to use its red carpet presence to show its support of women.

In the weeks leading up to the Golden Globes, the first major Hollywood awards show of the year, Fiji brainstormed how exactly it would go about this. The brand was wary of injecting itself into the #MeToo discussion, a place where a voice from corporate America might not be wholly welcomed. Darren Moran, chief creative officer at the in-house agency for Fiji’s parent company, The Wonderful Company, says he felt it was inappropriate for Fiji to be part of that conversation.

“We didn’t want it to be #UsToo, if you will,” he explains. “Quite frankly, it didn’t feel like we had the right role for that part of the discussion. A lot of brands insert themselves into conversations that they shouldn’t be or in a way they shouldn’t be, and they suffer for it, rightfully so.”

Instead, the brand decided to do something that would help women who work in entertainment achieve their goals and break through in an industry heavily dominated by men. Moran and his team landed on the idea of partnering with the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women working professionally in screen directing.

In partnership, Fiji has pledged to donate up to $100,000 this awards season to female directors who are participating in the workshop. Each time a celeb poses for a red carpet with a bottle of Fiji water, the brand will donate $1,000 to the cause. The activity has been dubbed ‘One Sip Forward.’

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