Aquafina: Aquafina Turns Plastic Waste into Fashion


Campaign Summary

Aquafina created a machine for recycling plastic water bottles into fashion items and promoted the innovation at Vietnam's International Fashion Week.



Aquafina is the leading purified water brand in Vietnam, thanks in part to cultivating an association with fashion.

Recently, however, the brand has encountered a more complex environment in Vietnam, prompting Aquafina to try to turn the category on its head by taking a leadership stance on sustainability. Aquafina opted to relaunch the brand by leading a sustainability agenda, evolving Aquafina's positioning to become more purposeful, while integrating its new sustainability positioning with its existing focus on fashion.

The brand led the refresh of its positioning with new sustainable packaging followed by a first-of-its-kind interactive up-cycling machine in Vietnam called "the Re-Birth Machine." This innovation was a reverse vending machine that could collect empty Aquafina bottles and up-cycle them into fashionable items. The campaign was aimed at creating behavior change and dominating social conversations.

Campaign Objectives:

  • Increase the brand association with sustainability.
  • Achieve a 35 percent brand uplift versus the previous year.
  • Increase market share by 3 percentage points versus the previous year.
  • Collect one million bottles in the first year.

Target Audience:

75 percent of Vietnamese state that they are willing to recycle and pay higher prices for nature-friendly products. This trend has also been reflected in other industries, as evidenced by the use of recycling in fashion. Aquafina's core target was millennials (aged 25 to 29). This group is style- and planet-conscious. They want to be seen with the right brands and the right styles that promote the right causes. They are very suspicious about brands that greenwash and make false claims about recycling.

Creative Strategy:

To get this generation's attention Aquafina used a positive approach. Instead of making plastic the problem, the brand showed how humans could be part of the solution.


Every minute, one million plastic bottles are sold in Vietnam, making the country one of the top-five global plastic polluters.

The fashion industry has been seen as a threat to sustainability due to the environmental damage it causes. With that in mind, Aquafina sought to unify its message and action under one inspiring and uplifting theme in 2022, leveraging its sponsorship of Vietnam's International Fashion Week (VIFW) to motivate people to protect the environment by turning plastic bottles into recycled fashion items.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Aquafina started the campaign by inviting people to weigh in on social media as to whether Aquafina's re-birth machine was a real and authentic sustainability measure. The brand then shaped the negative buzz into positive mentions and interactions.

Aquafina also put a teaser on social media channels like Facebook and TikTok that nurtured people's curiosity about the re-birth machine.

Social channels and fashion key opinion leaders (KOLs) were used to drive anticipation of what the machine would create in the week of its launch.

In the summer 2022, Aquafina brought the re-birth machine to the first-ever sustainability-themed VIFW. The fashion world got a firsthand experience with this innovative technology. The key moment occurred when Vietnamese supermodel and Aquafina brand ambassador Thanh Hang closed the main show with a showstopping dress. Internationally awarded fashion designer Vo Cong Khanh had created the dress for Thanh Hang using plastic waste bottles and titled the design "H2O." "H2O" amplified Aquafina's up-cycling message.

Using blue as its main color, Khanh's larger collection depicted the fluid beauty of water. The whole collection was an example of the circular economy, transforming recycled bottles into fashion items, proving to fashionistas that even "ugly" waste could be transformed into high-end fashion.

The re-birth machine was also unveiled at prime locations that Aquafina's target audience frequented — multiplexes, supermarkets, and shopping malls — helping to drive sustainable behavior.

Subsequently, Aquafina's re-birth machines were launched in various locations and promoted on YouTube, Google display ads, TikTok promotions, and Facebook placements to drive users to rebirth machine locations to deposit plastic bottles.

Every recycled bottle was recorded on Aquafina's microsite, which stored user information and ranked them by their input quantity. Every bottle collected by the machine was linked to the interactive re-birth station via a unique ID. The backend of the interactive booth also integrated with an incentive scheme through which participants could collect points and redeem them for fashionable items like tote-bags, caps, bags, and other apparel.

Mobile Execution:

Eight percent of the budget was allocated to optimizing key campaign assets for mobile. Google My Business, Google display network, and YouTube were used extensively alongside Facebook. A wide range of content, on-the-go videos, and online-to-offline interaction-driving content was used alongside mobile advertising. Mobile-friendly formats coupled with retargeting tactics and look-a-like audiences helped drive higher engagement and conversion for the campaign microsite.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

While there are more brand players showing their roles in recycling, Aquafina took a bold step that would organically engage the entire fashion community in the brand's marketing effort. A nationwide bottle recycling initiative was rolled out and the brand used its fashion credentials to drive home an important message. The unpaid participation of the entire fashion industry of designers, models, and KOLs helped the brand register its best performance in 10 years.


  • 42 million Vietnamese reached
  • A 6 percent uplift in ad recall in the campaign's first month
  • Over one million engagements
  • 500 kilograms in plastic waste received by the first re-birth machine in its first week of operation

More specifically, Aquafina's VIFW activation:

  • Generated over 145 million organic views in just four days
  • Drove the brand's monthly mentions into the top three for the liquid refreshment beverage category in May 2022
  • Generated over one million social media engagements with Aquafina's VIFW content
  • Inspired over 1,000 articles in earned media and generated over $2 million in earned media overall

Business Impact of the Campaign:

  • Brand preference increased 3 percent over the previous year.
  • Sales volume rose 20 percent.
  • Aquafina's market share of the packaged water category in Vietnam increased by 3.6 percent.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Lead Generation, Experimental/Innovation Technology | Awards: X Global Silver Winner, X Global Finalist