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Summer has arrived! When it’s hot and you’re thirsty, what do you reach for?
For a lot of Americans, it’s bottled water. In fact, this pretty unassuming commodity has become wildly popular. It’s convenient, it’s a healthy alternative to soft drinks, and, to a lot of people, it just tastes better than tap water.
Over the years, orchestrated NGO campaigns and individual social media rants alike have protested the use of natural resources required for bottling water, especially in drought-prone regions, and some have expressed anger over the prolific by-product of bottled water: plastic that’s often not recycled.
Despite these concerns, National Geographic reports, bottled water sales have grown by leaps and bounds the last two years to total about 1.7 billion half-liter bottles of water sold every week in 2015. Soft drink sales, on the other hand, have been falling. This year, bottled water will likely overtake soft drinks, especially in the aftermath of Flint, Michigan, as consumers in other areas may question the quality of their own tap water.
As author Elizabeth Royte has pointed out, marketing for bottled water has certainly helped pump up sales – it’s been advertised as a lifestyle choice. While I’ve seen awareness campaigns about wasted disposable plastic water bottles crafted in an emotionally compelling way, I’ve never seen the alternative – drinking plain old tap water – given emotional or colorful advertising.
Let’s say you want to promote reusable water bottles that happen to be filled with tap water as a more sustainable alternative to bottled water: A) How would you go about doing that, and B) do you have to be a manufacturer of reusable water bottles to promote that?