The bottled-water industry is battling back from a variety of attacks in the past few weeks with a new advertising campaign. Today the International Bottled Water Association took out full-page advertisements in The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle titled "It's Healthy to Think About Water." Here's an excerpt_
Diabetes. Obesity. Heart disease. America's declining health is in the headlines every day. At a time when one of the greatest challenges facing this country is the health of its people, it's time to think about water. Calorie-free, refreshing water. Whether it comes from a faucet or a bottle, drinking water is an easy step people can take to lead a healthier lifestyle. When we drink any beverage, it's likely to come out of a bottle or a can. In fact, 70% of all beverages consumed are from a container. That's a result of our 24/7, on-the-go society. So, as far as we're concerned, the drink in everyone's purse, backpack and lunch box should be water. Bottled water is always there when you need it. During emergencies, such as earthquakes, floods, fires, tornados or hurricanes, the bottled water industry has provided millions of bottles of water to people and communities in need. As more people choose to drink water, we must continue to protect and preserve the environment. The bottles our member companies produce are 100% recyclable. We use lightweight plastic bottles and the bigger containers found on bottled water coolers in many homes and offices represent the largest reusable bottle business in America.Why advertising? IBWA President and CEO Joseph K. Doss said: "The bottled water industry has a right and responsibility to help ensure that consumers are not swayed from making bottled water--a healthy, safe, and convenient product -- their beverage of choice." The key, though, is that bottled water has been under attack. As Newsweek recently reported:
It's been a tough summer for the bottled-water industry. In June, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, led by San Francisco's Gavin Newsom, passed a resolution calling for a study of the negative environmental impact of bottled water and praising the high quality of municipal tap water. In July, under pressure from environmental activists, Pepsico announced it would begin adding “source labels” to bottles of Aquafina, making it clearer to consumers that the stuff inside is merely tap water that's been subjected to extra purification. And in the July issue of Fast Company magazine, award-winning writer Charles Fishman penned a highly critical story about Americans' $16 billion-a-year bottled-water habit, which he calls an “indulgence” in a world in which 1 billion people lack access to dependable water sources. “When a whole industry grows up around supplying us with something we don't need—when a whole industry is built on the packaging and the presentation—it's worth asking how that happened, and what the impact is,” Fishman writes.I understand critics' points about wastefulness of buying bottled water in the United States, where tap water is widely available and safe to drink. But, as a parent, I'd rather have my kids drinking bottled water than soda when they're on the go, so we usually have a case of the stuff in the house. I don't think the bottled water industry is at risk of disappearing. Mayors and city councils can make speeches condemning it. But if they try to ban or tax it, I think they'd have a tea party on their hands.