Score One for Savvy Marketing: Branding Tap Water in Venice
Up until recently, bottled water has had one major advantage over tap water in Venice. No, it's not water quality, taste, or health benefits: bottled water, unlike the stuff that comes free out of the taps, comes in a branded bottle. Through brand loyalty or merely the emotional response to a picture of purity, people in Venice were used to buying their water at the store, and then disposing of it with their expensive trash pickup system. Through an extensive marketing campaign, water from the tap, the so-called "mayor's water," is now regaining popularity in Venice.
Via the NYT:
And voila! The number of Venetians who sometimes drink tap water has risen from 72 to 79% and the amount of waste collected seems to be down.
While this is good news for people in Venice, the success of the Acqua Veritas campaign brings to mind the question: why does slapping a brand on water suddenly make it hot commodity. Further, can this success be replicated in other areas of the green movement? If suddenly we had an "Aero Veritas" or a "Terra Veritas" would we suddenly care more about our air or soil quality?
Moving towards a branding of the natural is like the opposite of what is known in marketing circles as "genericized trademarks." Maybe we are reliant upon brands to tell us how to relate to things because brands tell us a story, involving us in the relationship in a way most people don't feel involved with natural resources. It could be a step in the right direction as the green movement seeks to find positive ways to encourage lifestyle change as climate crisis looms closer.