Friday, July 27, 2007


About as allegorical as you can get without LSD--what's wrong with corporate power, marketing , manipulation...and how it behooves them to keep us dumb. Oh, and workable allegory for the Bush Administration as well:

NEW YORK - So you thought that water in your Aquafina bottle came from some far-away spring bubbling deep in a glen?
Try the same place as the water in your tap.
PepsiCo Inc. is the latest company to offer some clarity about the source of its top-selling bottled water as it announced on Friday it would change the label on Aquafina water bottles to spell out that the drink comes from the same source as tap water.
A group called Corporate Accountability International has been pressuring bottled water sellers to curb what it calls misleading marketing practices. The group has criticized PepsiCo over its blue Aquafina label with a mountain logo as perpetuating the misconception that the water comes from spring sources.
Aquafina is the single biggest bottled water brand, and its bottles are now labeled "P.W.S." The new labels will spell out "public water source."
"If this helps clarify the fact that the water originates from public sources, then it's a reasonable thing to do," PepsiCo spokeswoman Michelle Naughton said Friday. Aquafina water is taken from public sources then purified in a seven-step process.
The corporate accountability group is also pressing for similar concessions from The Coca-Cola Co., which owns the Dasani water brand, and Nestle Waters North America, seller of Nestle Pure Life purified drinking water, which gets some of its water from municipal sources.
Dasani's Web site says that Dasani comes from local water supplies, is filtered using a process called reverse osmosis and enhanced with minerals.
"We don't believe that consumers are confused about the source of Dasani water," Coca-Cola spokeswoman Diana Garza Ciarlante said. "The label clearly states that it is purified water."
Sales of bottled water has been a growing source of revenue for companies such as PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., and Atlanta-based Coca-Cola as they lessen their dependence on sales of traditional carbonated sodas, as consumer concern over health issues has weakened demand.
Nestle said Friday it has been printing new labels for its Pure Life water that say whether the water comes from municipal supplies or ground water, and the labels will begin showing up later this year. Pure Life is the only Nestle bottled water that uses public water sources and the company did not have an estimate for how much of its supply originates from public sources.
Wholesale sales of bottled water grew to $11 billion in 2006, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp., and the industry is expected to maintain growth rates of about 10 percent. The fastest growing segment of the industry is sales of bottles of less than 1.5 liters, which includes the individual serving sizes sold in many convenience and grocery stores.
The decisions by Nestle and PepsiCo come as criticism grows over environmental concerns about the industry's use of local water sources as well as consumption of resin and energy to package and ship the bottles.
Last month alone, a barrage of news hit the industry: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom banned city-funded purchases of bottled water; New York City launched an ad campaign called "Get Your Fill" to promote the benefits of tap water; and the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution to bring attention to the importance of public water systems and the negative impact of bottled water.
"I think it's unfortunate we have gotten into this tap water vs. bottled water debate," the CEO of the International Bottled Water Association, Joe Doss, said. "I do not think consumers are uniformly replacing tap water with bottled water."
PepsiCo shares fell $1.18, or 1.8 percent, to $65.66 Friday amid a broad market pullback.


Lisa said...

Just because you (people, corporations, governments) can do something, doesn't mean you should! That is a basic moral theme to follow.

Anonymous said...

The July/August issue of Fast Company magazine features an article called, "Bottled Water: $15 Billion Down the Drain." I read it while my husband and I flew to Miami last weekend, and it is stunning. The environmental costs of bottled water are so enormous that refusing to purchase this elemental, free, natural resource in anything plastic might be as important an act as refusing oil and using corn-based ethanol instead to power your car. Really.

In terms of ethics, it is just wrong to pay for fancy water, or plain ol' tap in a bottle, when, according to the article, "one out of six people in the world has no dependable, safe drinking water" and bottled water is NOT healthier than tap. In fact, chemicals from the plastic may make it unsafe. Makes me yearn for the glass jug Grandmom always had cooling in the fridge.

"And in Fiji," according to the article, "a state of the art factory spins out more than a million bottles a day of the hippest bottled water on the US market today, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have safe, reliable drinking water."

I stopped buying bottled water when I realized I was paying a premium - $1 for something that is actually free... correction, that my municipal taxes already fund - that gives back no nutritional value. Really.

Drink water at home (6 to 8 a day), and, if you get thirsty when you're out and about, buy fortified oj in a recyclable glass or carton. Get some magnesium for your money.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the purpose of marketing is to keep from the public knowledge that Aquafina is Pepsi with out the flavors, carbonation, sweeteners, and colors. And that Dasani is Coke without the same.

I'll buy bottled water for the convinience while driving. Also for work because the stuff out of our taps is gross. At home I drink well water that comes from 250 feet below my digs in Harford County, MD.

I'm not too worried about bottles and other plastics in landfills. Some day our descendants will mine those landfills for the petroleum products.

Anonymous said...

Did you really not knw this is the water used for making soda? I though everyone did.

field negro said...

I knew there was a reason I liked Aquafina.

Anonymous said...

Actually I didn't know it was tap water or "public source." You just buy it and drink it as if you're a zombie and you don't wake up until someone (usually someone who's subject to initial ridicule) shakes you. So no, I don't say shame on Pepsi I say shame on us for being sheep.

Thus I don't think it's allegory. I think it's a very straightforward and apt metaphor for so many things in America 2001-now. :-(

Snowman said...

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" metaphor for current business & political times?

Cluizel said...

And everyone always laughed when I said Aquafina tastes different...

Lola Gets said...

I use the Pur water filtration system at home. They have high quality filters and make DC tap water taste really good!

I only buy bottled water for the taste, not for the safety, lol.


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