I'd always thought of bottled water as a display of the ultimate success in marketing. Not selling but marketing. Creating demand for a product that no one even knew they needed. Intel did that with the microprocessor. Many think that Fairchild did it with the integrated circuit—but it didn't. Integrated circuits simply cut the time and expense of electronics manufacturing. Microprocessors were, for lack of a better term, manufactured demand. That's one of the reason the Microma watch failed—no economic advantage, no performance advantage. Other than a marathoner, do you really care if the time on the watch is accurate to the nanosecond?

Back to water. Go to the local supermarket and take a look at the price of the bottled water. Then compare it to the price of a water bottle and tap water from the sink. It's hard to beat the latter on cost. Arguably, the latter takes more time, but I never thought of that as a major driver for bottled water sales. No, it was convincing people to buy something that they never knew they needed. Marketing. (I'm sure there are many on the list already scratching their heads and wondering why that's marketing.)

But there's something in this piece that's a little different from what I had initially expected:

"It has to do with the disappearance of good water fountains — with the failure, frankly, of water fountain companies to innovate cool, interesting, appealing water fountains."

I hadn't considered the situation in that construct. Do I agree with it? I'm not sure yet. I'll get back to you in a week after I've had a chance to "kick the tires" a bit first.

"Selling Bottled Water that's Better for the Planet"


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