I recently came across this article about the launch of Nestlé Waters first ever marketing campaign targeting Hispanics. The campaign includes an endorsement deal with Cristina, TV spots on Univision, spot radio in major Hispanic markets, print advertising (print lives!) a consumer contest and in-store hoopla.
The best thing about all of this is that the ads feature Cristina talking about health topics, including the risks associated with obesity and diabetes. The campaign was created by the fine folks at Castells & Asociados.
Obviously there are a lot of ways to sell bottled water and I applaud Nestlé and Castells for using their marketing muscle to get behind reducing obesity and diabetes in the Hispanic community. This is a cause which I cannot endorse more strongly.
In 2005, one in four U.S. Hispanic adults was obese (not just overweight). But what’s most alarming is the trend with children. One in six Hispanic high school students is overweight and 24% of Mexican-American children aged 6 to 11 are overweight, compared to 20% for African American kids and 12% for non-Hispanic whites. It’s well known that obesity can lead to higher insulin levels and type 2 diabetes as well as other health problems like asthma, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
There are factors that contribute to this situation, including genetics, that cannot be controlled. But two major factors that we can impact are exercise and nutrition. Any effort to get kids and their parents to dump the soda and other high calorie, low nutritional value foods, should be supported. Everyone can benefit from drinking more water and from using water as a substitute for high calorie beverages.
But here’s the rub. If you’ve been paying attention, bottled water producers are bottling and selling a product we don’t really need (tap water works just fine) and creating a nasty, land-filling byproduct in the form of plastic bottles that live forever.
So what’s a health conscious enviro-wannabe like yours-truly to do? I’d gladly give Nestlé my frequently sought, yet seldom given, stamp of approval if: Nestlé also educated its consumers on the need to recycle those ugly little plastic bottles and better yet, provided an incentive for them to do so.
After that, I’d hope that folks would get tired of expensive bottled water and turn to taps, filters and reusable bottles. But one step at a time.
One response to “My Bottled Water Conflict”
Unfortunately, there’s a story beyond the plastic bottles. First, bottling spring water means doing so in rural areas and transporting it long distances.
Add the plastics manufacture, bottling and transportation together and the amount of oil needed would fill that plastic water bottle about 1/4 full of crude.
I think the obesity issue is simply spin on Nestle’s part; high-quality water flows freely from almost every tap in the country, and reusable containers would handle the water vs soda issue just fine.
Finally, Nestle’s record of dealing with small rural towns is an unpretty one. They’ve sued towns all over the country. Pity the tiny town of Fryeburg, Maine, which said “no” Nestle’s pumping station.
They’ve been sued five times by Nestle, and opponents of a proposed bottling plant in Nothern California found Nestle trying to subpoena their private, personal financial records (a pretty clear attempt to intimidate).
Nestle’s record isn’t good, and bottled water’s impacts are even worse.