Marketing Water – I love a good scam

In the last decade or 2, the bottled water industry has exploded with the world spending $100 billion dollars to get their hands on it every year. Isn’t it quite incredible to see an industry rise up from literally nowhere and take a resource available to us freely and easily and charge thousands of percent more?


So is it actually better for us than tap water?  It no doubt depends on where you live but after research was performed in the USA, it was found that there was no real difference between the two.

In fact, in a lot of instances, tap water probably had more good stuff in it for you than bottled water. We have the perception that the water is of a better standard and that is why we buy it, as if it is healthier for us than… other water. We believe this to the point that we are willing to pay $3-5 for 500ml instead of 0.5c per litre straight out of the tap. Perhaps it’s just that it makes us feel healthy and cool.

Funnily enough, Food and Water (the organisation) reported that almost half of all bottled water actually comes from tap, not spring (47.8%).



In Australia, manufacturers actually admitted to just filling up the bottles out of the Sydney water mains and filtering it.



Then Why? Why can’t we get enough of this environmentally unfriendly way of consumer water? Well it tastes better… I think.  Or I’ve been told it tastes better so many times that I actually believe it. Did you know that blind taste tests have resulted in an even data between which version of water consumers preferred by taste?

The real reason?  Well I think it may be that advertisers have outwardly declared war on tap water. Pepsi Vice President quoted “The biggest enemy is tap water”. I suppose this means they’ve invested big dollars into ensuring we think the way we do about the product. In this case, it’s worked and it’s worked well. It also provided a way for these beverage conglomerates to continually profit when the consumer decides to choose a “healthy” option over the soda in the shop fridge.


With all this in mind,  maybe next time we should consider that the production of water bottles uses 17 million barrels of oil every year and that it takes 3 times the amount of water in the bottle you just bought to actually make it. It’s an interesting collection of statistics and facts but will it really change your behaviour? Will it really change my behaviour? Maybe not, but what I can say is that I’ve successfully given you some interesting dinner party conversation to pull out next time you’re in need… and for that, you are welcome 🙂


  • Adam  

    Recently, the ACC removed a few brands claiming to be “organic water”… That has to be the ultimate in water “spin” marketing.

    • john  

      So true Adam. Cashing in on the ‘conscience vote’ from consumers is kinda unethically ironic.

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