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No ‘Thankyou’ from Rivals

7 August 2013 at 11:04 am
Staff Reporter
Leading bottled water, food and hygiene social enterprise, Thankyou, is set to face stiff competition on the shelves following last week’s decision by supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths to stock their product range.

Staff Reporter | 7 August 2013 at 11:04 am


No ‘Thankyou’ from Rivals
7 August 2013 at 11:04 am

Leading bottled water, food and hygiene social enterprise, Thankyou, is set to face stiff competition on the shelves following last week’s decision by supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths to stock their product range.

Supermarket sales will pit the brand head to head with tougher rivals than those in the social sector, according to Thankyou Founder Daniel Flynn.

“None of our competitors like that we’re going to be on the shelves,” he said.

“Coming from the charity and social space we’re not used to people wanting to take us down. Behind closed doors, you see a lot of tactics in play.

“We are under no illusions. We know we have a lot of work cut out for us.”

The social enterprise has been operating since 2008, funding safe water access for those in developing countries.

The supermarket rollout will build on Thankyou’s existing distribution channel – stockist and convenience chain, 7-11.

Flynn said this existing partnership showed that social impact could be a new battleground in the retail space.

“If they compare themselves to other convenience stores, they may stock the same range and offer the same, but they can also offer social impact.”

The move by the supermarket giants followed meetings with Flynn last week, buoyed by a series of marketing stunts in the past month.

These included the flying of a 10,000 foot flag above Coles and Woolworths headquarters and a social media campaign intended to spotlight consumer demand for Thankyou’s product range.

The backing of the campaign by celebrities had been pivotal in getting Coles and Woolworths on board, he said.

“The support has been really crucial,” Flynn said. “I know I believe in this idea but it doesn’t mean everyone else is going to believe it.”

“There are a lot of brands out there. We have had to somehow prove that this is something people want.”

Flynn said he would like to see more social enterprise products in major retailers as a result of the steps Thankyou had taken.

“We hope this takes social enterprise in Australia to the next level,” he said.

“You do get cynicism everywhere you go. People aren’t used to the social enterprise concept. They think ‘there must be something going on here’!”

Flynn said he hoped for ongoing support from the social enterprise community and loyalty from customers who could act as ambassadors for the product.

Understanding things from the retailers’ point of view had also proven critical, Flynn said.

“We figured out very early on that you can easily get caught up in your own idea. We’ve had to stop thinking about what we’re doing and start thinking about what’s in it for them. Like any other product, it is a commercial offer.”

“It’s about the win win win – win for us, win for them, win for social impact,” he said.

Thankyou, previously known as Thankyou Water, recently expanded its range to include food and body products.

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One comment

  • Paul says:

    I get that having a social purpose is better than just a for profit purpose but 3 thoughts comes to mind when I think of Thank-you Water.

    1)Isn’t Thank-you Water served in a single use non-biodegradable plastic bottle, which requires 3 times the amount of water contained in the bottle to make it. Presumably from non-renewable resources.

    2) Once used, the plastic bottle then become part of a growing waste stream.

    3) If consumers buy this product with the notion they are contributing to a social good and therefore any wider environmental consideration isn’t needed then I’d argue they should review points 1 and 2 above.

    Campaigns like Sydney Water’s TAP that uses biodegradable bottles made from recycled materials that are filled with water from a tap seems like a much better option?

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