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E-M:/ you paid how much for that?
- Subject: E-M:/ you paid how much for that?
- From: Christy McGillivray <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2006 21:11:55 -0400
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- List-name: Enviro-Mich
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Enviro-Mich message from Christy McGillivray <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Who doesn't wish we had 10 billion dollars to invest in upgrading our
drinking water systems in this country? What would 10 billion dollars
fix and provide? You guessed it: lots of aquapods! Nestle's newest
marketing scheme aimed directly at children.
*Comment on this story.*
Savvy marketing has raised bottled water to new heights
*Tuesday, October 3, 2006* By BO EMERSON Cox News Service
Atlanta Cod was on the menu at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, and sommelier
Chantelle Pabros Grilhot was responsible for choosing the proper
beverage to accompany the dish.
She decided on a bottle from Tuscany, with a soft texture and a lean
Later in the meal, a lamb shank with caramelized curry seasoning
demanded a different pour altogether, a north Italian sparkler that
complemented the intense flavors.
“Sparkling waters go better with meats and heavier dishes,” Grilhot
said. “I’ve paired still waters with fish or creamier dishes.”
Water: It’s not just for brushing your teeth.
It sounds like a Penn & Teller routine, but this gourmet water is
serious business, decanted with all the solemnity of a cabernet or a
pinot noir. The austere Panna was more appropriate for the cod than,
say, a mineral-rich rival. “It’s not as fat and heavy on the palate as
Evian,” Grilhot said.
High-end bottles costing $35 a pop and gourmet pairings at fancy
restaurants are just the latest wave in a rising tide of bottled water
merchandising. Recently anointed the second-most popular beverage in the
country, ahead of wine, beer, milk, fruit juices, tea and coffee (and
far more popular than its lowly cousin from the municipal tap), bottled
water has provided a shot in the arm for the beverage industry and a
welcome alternative for consumers seeking to limit calories and fulfill
that “eight glasses a day” mandate.
Chuck Konfrst, 35, of Peachtree Corners, Ga., is a typical customer. A
one-time diet soda drinker, the Web expert checked his waistline a few
years ago and decided the low-cal drinks weren’t working.
Now he has a stack of three dozen Berkley & Jensen half-liter bottles
taking up space in his cube. “For everyday drinking, it’s water,” he said.
Unlike the H2O connoisseurs at the Ritz, Konfrst cares more about
convenience than brand. He could bring in a big cup and use the
company’s filtered water, “but I’m too lazy to go to the break room and
fill it up every few hours.”
Such thirsty fans swigged 7.5 billion gallons of bottled water last
year, pushing the market above $10 billion, according to Gary Hemphill,
managing director of the consulting firm Beverage Marketing Corp.
That was just the tonic for an ailing industry, in which sales of soft
drinks — still the No. 1 beverage choice in the country — were flat. As
a result, bottled water has become a starting point for a variety of
products, from fruit-flavored, caffeinated and oxygenated drinks to
vitamin-enriched waters for pregnant women.
“They are using water as an innovation platform,” Hemphill said.
Example: Aquaice, a pre-sealed disposable ice tray filled with purified
water, one of two “bottled water” ice cube products entering the market.
“When we tell people about it, half say, ‘What a great idea, we knew it
was coming,’ and the other half say, ‘You’re crazy, no one will buy it,’
” said spokesman George Varney.
SELLING TO KIDS
Determined to push bottled water into new demographics, big companies
are distilling products aimed at children. These include fluoridated
Spring by Dannon and AquaPod from Nestlé, a globoid plastic container
filled with one of Nestlé’s regional brands, such as Deer Park.
The multimillion-dollar marketing campaign includes animated ads on
Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and broadcast TV that feature kids
triumphing over boring parents with the help of the bulbous bottle.
“The majority of the marketing is focused toward kids,” said Nicole
O’Connor, manager of consumer communications for Nestlé Waters.
Karen Bennett of Atlanta, who tested the product for word-of-mouth
public relations firm BzzAgent, thought the idea was dumb. “I’m not
going to buy water bottles that don’t fit in my cup holders,” was her
initial reaction. Then her 10-year-old took to it like a duck to
Perrier. “I was surprised by the reactions.”
Consumers aren’t just surfing the bottled water trend; they’re driving
it. A pet-friendly Four Seasons promo promises a silver bowl filled with
Evian when Fido lodges at the upscale hotel.
Jody Gurin of Atlanta similarly pampers her 9-year-old tabby, Kitty G.,
providing either Evian or lower-priced Kroger water in his dish. “It’s
really important for the pets to be hydrated,” Gurin said, “and I notice
when I put the bottled water in they’ll really drink it a lot.”
Not everyone celebrates the plastic bottle. The Natural Resources
Defense Council recently completed a four-year study, and resolved that
bottled water was no purer than tap.
E/The Environmental Magazine pointed out that 1 billion plastic water
bottles end up as litter or in landfills each year and that the demand
for recycled PET plastic has yet to match the volume.
Stephen Kay of the International Bottled Water Association asserts that
the product’s purity is controlled by the Food and Drug Administration,
as is any other packaged food. He adds that water drinkers generally
choose between bottled water and some other packaged beverage, and that
plastic water bottles are no more likely to turn into litter than soda cans.
As for recycling, Kay points to the five-gallon reusable water cooler
bottle as an early contribution to saving the planet. “We consider
ourselves among the original recyclers,” he said.
Perhaps, but the humble water cooler doesn’t make as much of a media
splash as the $35-a-bottle Bling water encrusted with Swarovski crystals
or the $5,000 Evian bath available at the Hotel Victor in Miami. (Tennis
star Serena Williams recently dipped into the 350-gallon infinity tub,
filled to the brim with Evian Natural Spring Water, and declared it
About such excess, generic water sipper Konfrst had only this dry
comment: “If somebody has that kind of money to buy water, they’ve got
too much money.”
Lake St. Clair Community Organizer
Clean Water Fund
Clinton Township, MI 48036
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