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Who Says Advertising Doesn’t Work?

October 22nd, 2007 by Bob Bly

There?s an old joke that goes: the proof that advertising works is that millions of people think yogurt tastes good.

I think even better proof is that marketers have conned consumers into spending $15 billion per year on bottled water brands ? about a third of which already use filtered tap water anyway.

Bottled water costs about a thousand times more per gallon than tap water. Worse, bottled water often contains more bacteria and impurities, because the EPA regulates municipal water systems more stringently than the FDA regulates bottled water.

Yes, bottled water is conveniently portable. But why not just buy a plastic bottle and fill it with cold water from the tap as needed? Can anyone say ?canteen??

Source: ?Water and Oil Shouldn?t Mix,? Ecoprint, 10/07, p. 3.


This entry was posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007 at 7:53 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

27 responses about “Who Says Advertising Doesn’t Work?”

  1. Mike Braun said:

    Bottled water has more bacteria and impurities than tap water? That’s news to me, which may credit your point that advertising works. Still, I’ve heard of a lot more outbreaks/problems with tap water than bottled water. A lot more.

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  3. nick said:

    thanks for posting on this issue. I just wanted to let you and your readers know about Corporate Accountability International’s Think Outside The Bottle Campaign, which has been working to discourage bottled water and promote tap water. You can get more information from the website and sign the pledge, promising not to drink bottled water, at

  4. Dinc said:

    I can’t agree.
    As consumers we should be a bit more careful when purchasing bottled water. There are few clues like:
    You need to read the what type of water it is, always on the label usually below the logotype. The ideal type of water is PURE NATURAL MINERAL WATER. Here the key words are NATURAL and MINERAL. The source of these type of waters are mostly springs (usually called Natural Spring Water) or natural underground reserves which are the most healthy in terms of its mineral composition and taste, especially the underground waters whose filtration process is far better than any human made machine can provide.
    Be away from the types such as BOTTLED DRINKING WATER. Those manufacturers legally can not claim it is natural or mineral because the water inside are not from natural sources. They are filtered and bottled municipality water. They cannot bullshit, so you will know! Sometimes it gets tricky though, some say Pure Drinking Water (foxy!) but bewar
    Please seperate the group of natural mineral water from the others.

  5. Michael said:

    I won’t be able to fill my empties with tap for long with this drought we’ve been having in Georgia. Our poor lake is down 17 feet!

  6. Abdul Rahman said:

    Haha Bob, good point. Perceived reality of bottled water compared to tap water does delude many people from the truth and marketer does a very good job on deceiving people. :p

  7. Dianna Huff said:


    I do love sparkling mineral water with my meals.

    And I do fill my gym water bottles with tap water. 😉

  8. Bob Bly said:

    DH: Sparkling is different, because it is manufactured: it is a different beverage and you cannot get it from the tap. At the gym, you are more responsible than most Americans, filling from the tap.

  9. Mike Braun said:

    Here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin we had a major outbreak of Crytosporidium in the 90s. Over 100 people died and 400,000 in the area became ill. This happened despite our border of Lake Michigan, one of the greatest fresh water sources in the world. So in this area bottled water is fairly popular, and there is reason for it to be.

    After what happened, it’s hard to believe that tap water is “better” for you.

  10. Ken said:

    Hi Bob…I love your stuff, just bought your copywriter’s toolkit in fact, although I don’t fully agree on the bottled water issue.
    Most municipal water supplies add chlorine and fluoride to what’s coming out of your tap, which in both cases are detrimental to good health. Fluoride is a poison more toxic than lead…have you ever read the warnings on children’s toothpaste?

  11. Angie said:

    I agree with Ken – tap water contains flouride (in most places) which is one of the biggest cons of the dental industry. It’s bad stuff!

    Personally, I prefer gallons of distilled water. We have someone in our household with kidney issues and distilled water is the only way to go. 🙂

  12. Eric Yaverbaum said:

    First step everyone should take is to check out how clean the water is in the municipality they live in. Then get educated ( Consider some of the following;
    * Bottled water uses energy and resources to create packaging for something that runs cheaply and cleanly from the faucet in your own home
    * Not only is it expensive and energy demanding to make bottles, but then to ship the bottled water costs more money and isn’t eco-friendly
    * 96% of bottled water is sold in single-size polyethylene terephthalate plastic bottles, which end up in city trash cans rather than recycling bins. The national recycling rate for all PET bottles, including soda bottles, is 23.1 percent
    * About 4 billion PET bottles end up in the waste stream, costing cities around 70 million dollars a year in cleanup and landfill costs
    * Bottled water costs around as much as a bottle of soda or juice, which obviously requires additional ingredients and processing, yet people pay for it
    * Americans buy 28 billion water bottles a year, all that plastic and the energy used for manufacturing and transportation is very hard on the environment
    * In addition to this, few bottles are recycled properly or reused but instead placed into the nearest trashcan
    * Bottled water costs as much as $10 per gallon compared to less than a penny per gallon for tap waters
    * Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil in 2006, enough fuel for more than 1 million United States cars for a year, and generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide
    * Some cities are considering taxes on bottled water, others are talking about bans on bottled water at city events, and even some restaurants have stopped selling bottled water in efforts to reduce waste
    * If you choose to get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend up to $1,400 dollars annually! The same amount of tap water would cost around 49 cents
    * Bottled water often contains more bacteria and impurities than tap water, because the EPA regulates municipal water systems more stringently than the FDA regulates bottled water
    * Worldwide, 2.7 million tons of plastic are used each year to make water bottles, and in the United States, less than 20% of these bottles are recycled
    * Many things in this world get wasted, fill up our landfills, harming the environment and our health- don’t let bottled water, something so unnecessary and avoidable, be one of them

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  16. Robin said:

    I personally believe advertising works a lot. Nowadays, people are doing a lot of advertisement. Without advertisement growth of business is not possible.

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