Tap water is the new "cool" drink; some credit the lagging economy for its popularity, considering what bottled water costs. Others credit Tappening, a public awareness project and Web site that is just happening to make its creators richer.
New Yorkers Mark DiMassimo and Eric Yaverbaum—an advertising agency veteran and a public relations expert, respectively—created Tappening.com in November 2007 because they wanted to reduce the impact the bottled water industry has on the environment. More than 4.5 million page views and thousands of environmentally friendly bottle and tap-water-related product sales later, Yaverbaum speaks about Tappening.
Target Marketing: Who was your original Tappening client?
Eric Yaverbaum: Well, Tappening was invented by Mark DiMassimo and I. ... Initially, our idea was, "Let's use our marketing brains to do something good for the planet" a year ago, and it's become topic du jour very recently. A year ago, we saw a documentary called "Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home," and we said, "I never knew where all my garbage went." You know, I throw out my garbage. Nor did I know the extent to which bottled water stays in landfills for 1,000 years. We said, "Well, there's something that's a big waste of money. There's something that our marketing minds could do something with." ... Mark and I invested $200,000—$100,000 each. And we basically said, "If we can sell 39,000 bottles in one year, we would break even on all the marketing costs and we would send this great message out." Well, we sold 39,000 bottles in 48 hours. ... We had no idea. We did not expect that. Tappening has become one of my biggest clients.
TM: What direct marketing techniques did you employ to drum up interest in Tappening?
EY: I would say that everything that we've done has been direct marketing. I'm a big believer in accountable marketing; marketing that you can tangibly measure. So that means [direct marketing is employed] whether it's the ad campaign that we're running, whether it's the analytics that tell us where people are coming from—about like 50 percent come from just doing Google searches of our name. But the other 50 percent, we can tell exactly where they're coming from.