The water industry vs. charity: water

What connotations does water have in the U.S.? Here is what first popped into my head:

  1. Sex tape (I’ll explain later…)
  2. Healthy
  3. Landfills
  4. Expensive
  5. Bills

These are the ideas that were prominent in my mind because of the American culture surrounding water from media images to social movements. The cultural, economic and political power water has developed in our country is quite shocking.

Water companies such as Evian and SmartWater are taking advantage of media trends such as the “viral video” to promote, and maybe even mock, their messages:

Evian Roller Babies

Here’s where the Jennifer Aniston sex tape comes into play…

Most movies and TV shows are flooded with brand water product placement (think if Fiji).

Coke officially released its Dasani Plant Bottle on Earth Day 2011 to mixed reviews from environmentalists and consumers. This has been closely tied with the recent rise of “greenwashing” in PR and business.

On top of that, people make assumptions about other when they see them with a certain brand of water. For example (and I’m not trying to substantiate any of this) if you see someone with a Kroger brand 16 oz. water bottle next to someone with an Ethos water bottle from Starbucks you might make a judgement about their socioceonomic status and global perspective. When you see someone filling up their mason jar with water from a water fountain, you might assume they are making a political statement about the amount of waste plastic water bottles create as well as make a more broad judgement about their stance on environmental issues or even other political topics.

My point is that this phenomena could only develop and exist within the cultural, economic and political context of a wealthy country like the US. In many places around the world, the infrastructure for providing clean water is not available, much less a quarter mile long aisle at the grocery store devoted to every flavor and brand of H2O imaginable.

Help up make the entire bottle blue!

For the past few weeks, my social media class has been working with a non-profit organization called charity: water to raise $5,000. That money will go directly to building one well in Africa and providing clean drinking water for 250 people. In Africa each year, people spend 40 billion hours walking in search of clean water. Killing more people every year than all forms of violence and war combined, unsafe water and basic lack of sanitation cause 80% of diseases.

I am asking that you take a moment, set down your ZICO, and consider helping provide something that comes out of your faucet each day to someone who may have never seen clear water in their entire life. Skip out on a case of Dasani this week, and , maybe put that $5 somewhere else.

Please visit our donation page at and check out our Facebook page for events and updates.

2 Responses to “The water industry vs. charity: water”
  1. Paull Young says:

    Great post! Love the Get Clean campaign!

    Btw, you should definitely watch the ‘Story of Stuff’ video about bottled water:

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