Aug 14

Minority Families Targeted By Bottled Water Marketers

Published By Nadia Arumugam Aug. 11 2011 — Forbes 

Why Minorities Reach for Bottled Water Over Tap & How Marketers Persuade Them

A large pile of half-pint Poland Spring bottles

Image via Wikipedia

Research has shown that minorities consume bottled water more often than white Americans, and spend a greater proportion of their income (about 1%, compared to the 0.4% white Americans dole out) on this superfluous commodity every year. A recentstudy in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine confirmed this trend – finding that Latino and black parents were three times more likely to sate their children’s thirst with bottled water, compared with white parents. What sets this study apart from previous ones, is that it pinpoints the reasons why minority parents perceive bottled water to be superior, and thus a necessary expense. They genuinely believe it to be cleaner, safer, healthier, and more convenient than the stuff that pours out of the spigot (virtually) gratis. Health experts and tap water advocates heartily disagree and will produce reams of data revealing tap water  to be pure, healthful, and entirely sanitary. In fact, authors of the recent study note that the reliance on bottled water may contribute to dental issues in minority children who don’t benefit from the fluoride purposefully added to tap water to maintain the nation’s oral health. What’s more, a National Resources Defense Council investigation discovered the 17% of bottled waters contained unsafe levels of bacterial loads, and 22% were contaminated with chemicals, including arsenic.

Still, with 10 billion gallons of bottled water imbibed annually in the US, bottled water brands have been actively courting the minority market.

Here are four strategies they’ve used to convince black and Latino consumers to swig from their bottles. 

Latino-specific Bottled Water Brands
What better way to attract the attention of a minority group than by putting out a product that is aimed directly, if not almost exclusively, at them. Paul Kurkulis founder and president of Las Oleadas, an Aspen-based company, has been hawking a brand of mineral -enhanced bottled water called Oleada in Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and California, with his focus being the Hispanic market. Loosely translated Las Oleadas means “the momentum that drives a wave.” The text on the labels were originally only in Spanish, but they now also feature English, since Kurkulis found he had inadvertently garnered some non-Spanish speaking customers. In 2006, Ravinia Partners, launched AguaBlue. After years of research, they put out the bottled water that sought to pull at the emotional heartstrings of the Latino consumer. The striking, full color label features the flags of Latin American countries, and bilingual production information. Perusing the water aisle, the Guatamalan, Columbian or Puerto Rican shopper spots his or her flag, and swells with pride and warm feelings. Naturally, this makes him or him opt for a bottle of AguaBlue over another generic brand.

Targeting Minority Moms
Over the last two years ago, Coca Cola and Nestle have both rolled out campaigns aimed at minority moms. According to Miriam Muley,  author of The 85% Niche: The Power of Women of All Colors—Latina, Black and Asian, 46% of all mothers in the US are Latina, Black or Asian. In April, 2009, Dasani enlisted R&B star Chilli from the Grammy award winning group TLC to deliver its message of health and hydration to African American mothers in a special Mother’s Day program. Via radio, print and in-store advertising, black women were sold on how drinking Dasani was just one step to a happier, more beautiful, more fulfilled, and more balanced them. By visiting the Dasani website, moms could see the latest fashion trends, elicit health and beauty tips and enter contests to win spa-cations. “Among African American consumers, African American moms are the gatekeeper to the household,” said Yolanda White, assistant vice president, African American Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, in an Ad Age interview. “We over-index in single-family households, and so reaching Mom is critical.”

Summer and fall of 2010 saw Nestle’s Pure Life water campaign, “Better Habits for a Better Life”, played out with a vengeance. This time it was Latina moms who were being canvassed, and this time, the campaign wasn’t so much about their health and well-being, but rather those of their families. At the heart of the campaign was a challenge titled “La Promesa Nestle Pure Life,” and it basically called upon mothers to pledge to replace one sugary drink in their family’s day with water, or rather, a bottle of Pure Life. Once her pledge was registered, mom was in the running to win over $20,000 worth of prizes, and a trip for four to Miami.

Celebrity Endorsements
Brands have long since recognized the value of celebrity endorsements to increase sales. But, it wasn’t until the mid-90′s that advertisers really started to take the African American market seriously and realized the profits to be cultivated if they started to use black stars. Remember what Tina Turner  did for Hanes hosiery? Well, the bottled water industry certainly does. Coca Cola’s enlisting of TLC’s Chili, a 38 year-old-old actress, singer, and single mother to promote Dasani’s Mother’s Day campaign, was perfectly executed. The star embraces independence, strong family principles and a commitment to health, and, well, looking good – values integral to today’s black mother. “Chilli embodies the struggles and the balance we see in our target audience,” said Yolanda White of Coca Cola, as reported in Adweek.com. “She gives reassurance to moms that you can still be a great mom, take care of yourself and look beautiful.” Nestle had their own superstar mom in Hispanic TV host Cristina Saralegui to serve as the brand’s spokeswoman, as well as to appear in TV commercials. In one such ad, a mother is seen in a supermarket deciding between a sugary drink or water as she runs into Saralegui, who conveys to her the importance of water. Between 2008 and 2010 when Hispanic commericals featuring Salalegui were aired on TV, the awareness of Pure Life water, and purchase intent levels quadrupled among Hispanics.

All this isn’t to suggest that the boys are neglected. Black comedian and actor Daman Wayans, once endorsed PepsiCo’s Aquafina in the early noughties, now the brand is endorsed by Domenican football player Luis Castillo of the San Diego Chargers.

 

 

 


Jul 01

Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water?

Corporate giants like Coke, Pepsi, Nestle and others have done an great job selling us on the idea that bottled water is safer, better, perhaps sexier than tap water. However, there is a real dark side to bottled water as the movie “Tapped” has pointed out. When you seriously look at the petroleum needed to produce the plastic bottles, storage issues and potential water contamination by the plastic bottles themselves, the transportation needed to transport the water to the store shelves and environmental impact of plastic bottles have on the Earth, one can see that bottled water is not only wasteful, the discarded plastic bottles create one of the most dangerous environmental hazards known to man. This little video tells the story beautifully.

http://www.myspace.com/video/trailerpark/oceans-exclusive-use-less-plastic/104426743

One can easily see that filtered water not only is a better product, it costs significantly less. The fact is that roughly 25% of all bottled water is actually tap water that has been processed and repackaged. Corporate America treats local municipal sources as a commodity and sells it back to the community at a profit. When you really look at the cost of bottled water compared to filtered water, the numbers are staggering.

Example; bottled water averages around $2.50 per gallon. A Multi Pure 750 gallon filter is $69.95. To produce the same amount of bottled water you would spend $1850.00!! (750 gallons x $2.50= $1850.00)

To find out how your bottled water rates, check the Environmental Working Group Widget below. Simply enter your favorite brand or click the first letter to get the details on that product.

Jun 23

What is a bottle bill and how does it work?

Glass bottle, plastic bottle, aluminum can

Bottle bills (also known as container deposit laws) are a proven, sustainable method of capturing beverage bottles and cans for recycling. The refund value of the container (usually 5 or 10 cents) provides a monetary incentive to return the container for recycling. A bottle bill, or container deposit law, requires a refundable deposit on beverage containers to ensure that the containers are returned for recycling.

Benefits of bottle bills

From reducing litter to increasing the economy, container deposit systems offer a number of benefits.

Bottle Bills..

  • Supply recyclable materials for a high-demand market
  • Conserve energy and natural resources
  • Create new businesses and jobs
  • Reduce waste disposal costs
  • Reduce litter
  • and provide many more benefits

Because recycling is mandated on a local level, different states can decide how to incentivize participation. One option that has gained popularity is the bottle bill.

The bottle bill allows for consumers to pay an extra charge when purchasing beverage containers. This charge is then totally or partially refunded when the container is recycled at a certified redemption center.

While most programs nationwide will give consumers money for materials such as aluminum, the bottle bill unifies this refund across the state.

Beverage Container Deposits

The first bottle bill was passed in Oregon in 1971. Currently, eleven states operate these programs. States differ in how unredeemed deposits are dispersed.

Here’s how the bottle bill works in each state:

  • California (imposed Sept. 29, 1986): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state-managed fund.
  • Connecticut (April 12, 1978): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Delaware (June 30, 1982): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Hawaii (June 25, 2002): Distributors pay a 5-cent-per-container deposit into a special state fund on a monthly basis. Distributors charge retailers the deposit on each container purchased by the retailer. In turn, the retailer charges the consumer for the deposit. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state-managed fund.
  • Iowa (April 1978): At least a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Maine (Jan. 12, 1976): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on beer, soft drink, wine cooler, non-alcoholic carbonated and non-carbonated beverage containers, and a 15-cent deposit is imposed on wine and other liquor beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by the state General Fund.
  • Massachusetts (Jan. 1983): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by a state Clean Environment Fund.
  • Michigan (Nov. 2, 1976): A 10-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained at 75 percent by a state-managed fund and 25 percent by retailers.
  • New York (June 15, 1982): At least a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all eligible beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Oregon (July 2, 1971): A 2-cent deposit is imposed on all standardized refillable beverage containers, and a 5-cent deposit is imposed on all non-standardized refillable beverage containers. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.
  • Vermont (April 7, 1972): A 5-cent deposit is imposed on beer, malt, soft drink, mineral and soda water and wine cooler beverage containers. A 15-cent deposit is imposed on liquor beverage containers greater than 50 milliliters. Unredeemed deposits are retained by distributors/bottlers.

These 11 states report higher recycling rates for beverage containers than states without such programs. California, for example, reported a 60 percent recycling rate for its beverage containers between January and December 200. During that year, more than 13 billion containers were recycled, which was 814 million more than the previous year.

California leads the nation in the total quantity of bottles and cans recycled. States with deposit programs have generally maintained higher recycling rates for beverage containers than the U.S. average rate.

Bottle bill opponents call deposit requirements a “tax” fronted by taxpayers. However, one-way, throwaway, no-deposit, no-return beverage containers are a corporate subsidy, a hidden tax. Taxpayers absorb the cost of disposing of beverage containers. And many taxpayers absorb the costs of recycling beverage containers through curbside recycling programs.

When there is a refundable deposit on beverage containers, the consumers pay the deposit. The deposit is refunded if the container is returned. And the beverage distributors and bottlers absorb the cost of collection. They then chose whether or not to pass their costs on to their consumers. Because 70 percent or more of the deposit containers are returned, taxpayers pay less for disposal, litter pickup and curbside recycling.

National Recycling Program

Based on a report published by the General Accounting Office on municipal recycling, recycling stakeholders who were interviewed encouraged increasing municipal recycling via adoption of a federal bottle bill. The National Beverage Producer Responsibility Act of 2003 was introduced to the Senate, which referred the bill on Nov. 14 to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The bill was introduced to the Committee three days later by Senator Jeffords (I-VT), but no action has as yet been taken on the bill.

For more information about bottle bills, visit www.bottlebill.org.