New Strategy Against Bottled Water: Satire

Last Updated Jul 29, 2009 1:32 PM EDT

Tappening bottled water anti-ad
"Bottled water makes acid rain fall on playgrounds," says a new ad created by Tappening, a New York-based group taking on bottled water for environmental reasons. The disclaimer appears in small letters at the bottom of the ad: "If bottled water companies can lie, we can too."

Bottled water has been taking a lot of hits lately. Environmentalists have long criticized the unnecessary use of plastic bottles, many of which never wind up recycled, and more recently, both the Environmental Working Group and the Government Accountability Office found that tap water is actually regulated more than water sold in bottles.

The folks at Tappening say that bottled water companies are dishonest with their advertising. "For example, ads for bottles filled with tap water [are] labeled and marketed with water cascading over pristine mountaintops," the group said in a press release. And many companies don't even list the source of their water.

So Tappening is countering with its own blatantly dishonest campaign, featuring slogans like "Bottled Water Causes Blindness in Puppies." Tappening is spending more than half a million dollars on outdoor posters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas.

Naturally, the International Bottled Water Association isn't happy with the campaign, and the group's chief executive called it unfair.

"We certainly would disagree with the premise that bottled water companies lie in their advertising. Like all products, bottled water ads must be truthful and nonmisleading," he said. Even when beverage companies use municipal water, he said, the water is purified and bottled under sanitary conditions.
At least one bottled water company has faced legal action in the past for stretching the truth in its advertising -- Nestle Waters in Canada got in trouble last year for a campaign calling bottled water "the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world."

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  • Katherine Glover