Principles of Marketing
Bottled Water Discussion Forum
What do many people pay hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for annually even though it’s available for free? The answer is bottled water, and the success of this $13-billion-dollar industry (in the U.S.) is what some people call the marketing trick of the century.
From a marketing perspective, bottled water giants such as Coke and Pepsi have taken advantage of people’s desire to live healthier with slogans such as ‘hydration is healthy’ (Dasani) or ‘pure water – pure taste (Aquafina). These slogans are often accompanied by images of glaciers that give consumers the idea the water is taken fresh from a mountaintop.
The truth is that nearly half of bottled water in the US, Canada, and U.K., is just treated tap water from local sources. This message, originally hidden, can now be seen in the small print on bottles since companies are now required by law to reveal it.
If it is ‘treated’ tap water though, doesn’t this mean it’s better? Not really, according to a 2008 study by the Environmental Working Group that found that bottled water had the same level of contaminants as tap water. Also, in the U.S, U.K, and Canada, tap water has stricter health standards than those imposed on bottled water manufacturers, suggesting bottled water may be even unhealthier. Lastly, regarding taste, countless blind taste tastes (one conducted by the New York Times) have shown that tap water was equal or better tasting to consumers.
The victim of the bottled water industry is not only the consumer, the environment suffers also. The majority of the 3 million tons of plastic used yearly worldwide ends up in garbage dumps or the ocean. Additionally, it takes 3 litres of water to package one bottle, which can take 700 years to begin to decompose.
Issues to be addressed in paper submission are:
1. What kind of product is bottled water?
2. What stage of the Product Life Cycle (PLC) would you say that bottled water occupies and why?
3. What impact would the marketing mix have on the marketing of a bottled water product?
4. Discuss the micro and macro environments of a bottled water company.
5. Using chapter seven (7) as a guide, identify a bottled water product being marketed locally, that has been differentiated and discuss the comparative advantages that creates value to customers.
6. With reference to the article above, it has been said that nearly half of bottled water in the US, Canada, and U.K., is just treated tap water from local sources. Is this unethical or is it fine if the water is treated and not hurting anyone? Discuss.
PepsiCo’s Aquafina (www.aquafina.com/en-US/) Coca-Cola’s Dasani (www.dasani.com/)
Fiji Water (www.fijiwater.com/)
Smart Water (https://www.drinksmartwater.com/) Aqua Pacific (www.aquapacific.com)
Le Bleu (www.lebleu.com/)
Marketing Book: Principles of Marketing, 17th edition, ISBN 978-0-13-449251-3, by Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong, published by Pearson Education © 2018.