WAT-AAH Crock! Parents Completely Abandon Parenting

We’re not into the rant-and-complain blog style around here, but this has got to be among the most annoying, grating campaigns and product positionings I’ve ever seen.

The ridiculously-named company Let Water Be Water, LLC is responsible for,

WAT-AAH!, the first sugar-free, functional water brand made specifically for kids by kids and their mothers.

Which is a contender for the single most preposterous statement in the history of PR flackery. (Thanks, fathers, for not participating in this.)

And if that’s not low enough, they shamelessly announce in this press release their “New WAT-AAH! Challenge…”

…to defy the expectation that kids will pick soda or juice over water. During the month of March, mothers who participate in the challenge will receive WAT-AAH! samples with instructions to put the bottled water in their fridge, alongside sodas and other sugary drinks. Mothers will be asked to write, photograph and videotape their kids’ responses and reactions to WAT-AAH!. “Challenge” participants and ongoing results are available at www.wat-aahchallenge.blogspot.com.
“We want to challenge the preconceived notions people have about kids and drinks,” says WAT-AAH!’s founder, Rose Cameron. “Our goal is to test the assumption that kids are addicted to sugar and think water is boring. We are confident that children will pick WAT-AAH! over the big guys with multi-million dollar beverage budgets and logos that believe they are ‘cool,’ and we invite moms everywhere to participate in this challenge.”

So, set up the fridge like this, parents! The little ones will pick the water every time, you’ll see! (The only thing this promotion proves is the lengths some people will go to get some free bottled water.)

Had enough? No? If you’re masochistic or in extreme-procrastination mode, you can visit their screechingly-bad website, filled with fingernails-on-the-blackboard declarations like “Be Supaah! Jump Highaah! Be Smart-aah!”

If all this fails, modern parents, try my method (with your kids’ permission, of course.) It’s been successfully road-tested on my three children and millions of others: “Soda? NO WAY-AHH. Here’s your tap WAT-AHH.”

19 replies
  1. Matt
    Matt says:

    I tried it with my five-year old…he chose the Guiness each and every time. I should have caught it on video to send to their mAHketing folks.

  2. Edie
    Edie says:

    I am intrigued by your negativity towards this product. I actually took the challenge with my kids. I am a SAHM and a blogger who likes to receive free samples, but I would not go as far as saying this is the sole reason I, along with many others have participated. It was because yes, I wanted to see if my kids would drink it. and they did. This is something they would not normally do on there own. And of course I am still a huge supporter of giving them tap water (purified of course!) that’s why i just filled the WAT-AAH! back up again… needless to say they kept drinking. so challenge them you can, but it was a success with my kids!

  3. Kim @ What's That Smell?
    Kim @ What's That Smell? says:

    The WAT-AAH challenge is indeed a positive way to introduce a healthy choice where previously they have only provided sodas and sugared drinks. It may not be necessary in all situations but there is a definite need for it.

    To discount it as annoying and shameless is hasty and erroneous. I think this product fills a gap that will help parents regain some control over the things their kids drink where in the past they had little control. Let’s be honest here – I bet that refrigerator in the picture of the WAT-AAH challenge probably looks like 75% of the refrigerators in America. I think the number of people signed up for Weight Watchers would attest to that.

    Americans need to pay more attention to their diets and saying “no, drink water” doesn’t change behavior, it just leaves them sneaking around and honestly as I kid I was restricted from any sweets and now as an adult I over-indulge because I never learned how to make the right choices because I never had a choice.

    There is merit and a need for a product like this, and while I too find the screeching WAT-AAH kid annoying, my son loves it and if he asks for WAT-AAH instead of a Pepsi I consider it positive behavior that will serve him well his entire life.

    It’s about teaching them to make right choices in a society PLAGUED with wrong ones when it comes to our diets. I see this as the opposite of abandoning parenting.

  4. jake
    jake says:

    Man, I gotta say, I googled wataah and your article came up. Why so angry about a water that is promoting good health in a land of fat kids? FAT KIDS.

    Yes, Its clearly an ad campaign and sure, from moms-for moms…
    Its marketing. But its the ONLY water my kids like to drink.

    So Gayle – Attack sodas. Attack “vitamin water”. Attack fast food. But we need more healthy products for kids and from what I’ve seen, this is one of them.

    Shame on you.

    I saw their website. By any standard, its pretty darn cool.


  5. Gayle Leonard
    Gayle Leonard says:

    Reply from the author:
    First off–all of you seem like loving, conscientious parents who work hard to do the right thing. (So, I’m preaching to the choir, I’m sure!) That said, now that mine are young adults (17, 19, and 22) I’d like to give you a heads-up for something I had to learn the hard way (and something that was VERY hard to undo and maintain.)

    The day of my big ephipany was when the oldest was six. She wanted McDonalds. I said no. I said, “I’ll make you a hamburger right here! Look, I’m frying it up right now!” She pitched a HUGE tantrum, screaming, “I don’t want it FRIED. I WANT IT BUYED!!!!”

    So of course we laugh like crazy about that now, but suddenly I realized I’d been taken. Completely. Food was not about hunger, it was about entertainment. It was about materialism (happy meal toy!). And my child no longer had the ability to enjoy her own Mom, preparing a meal just for her, and served with her own loving hand. From food to drink to playthings to playtime, to what we wore, what we did, everything– I realized my child did not have the ability to get joy from the wonderful, simple things in life. AND I GAVE THAT AWAY MYSELF, with my only motivation that I wanted my children to be happy and to feel delighted and loved. And knew that what had happened was just the opposite.

    So, right then I determined that things would change. And they did, but it wasn’t easy and it was a daily battle against literally billions of dollars being spent to achieve an opposite result. And for you guys, right now, it has got to be ten times worse than it was then.

    So, Wat-aah (and scores of other marketing and product efforts out there aimed at kids) makes me ANGRY. (That bottle even looks like a flashback to the tantrum I just mentioned!) It makes me mad because being a good parent is hard, hard, hard and it’s stuff like this that adds to the daily challenge.

    So, give your child WAT-AAH if you like, because heaven knows it’s better than soda or other stuff. But consider this instead. Remember, you don’t need to TEST young children with choices they’re not prepared to make. They’re looking to YOU for security and guidance. Give it to them. Give them some tap water (put it in an awesome special cup if you like) look them in the eye, rub their heads and give them a smile to their soul. And do this consistently, and after awhile they’ll be able to avoid the crushing tide of marketing crap that blocks their ability to feel good and secure when a glass of water (or a hamburger) is offered to them from the strong hands who love them.

  6. jen white
    jen white says:

    Wow, I couldn’t disagree with you more…

    I think Wat-aah is a great way to fight all the “fun marketing” scams pushed out there by sugar filled soda and juice companies.

    This is a really positive product to me and frankly, Im glad there’s at least one healthy choice in the marketplace thats NOT loaded with sugars and calories.

    Childhood obesity is a HUGE problem in this country. This is a product thats promoting good health.

    Write an article about childhood obesity and its causes. But Jeez, pick on the crap thats out there not something promoting good health for kids.

    Their website is actually quite impressive. Frankly, its a hell of a lot more interesting than this one.

    You just lost a regular reader.
    -Jen (happily married mother of 4)

  7. Interested drinker
    Interested drinker says:

    Wow – I can’t believe there are people buying into this hoax! It’s all marketing. They made a pretty label and put water in a bottle and now people are saying thank goodness there’s something out there thats healthy for kids.
    It’s always been there – its called water – except now you’re putting money into the greedy hands of some bored New Yorker who wants to make money.
    Over 2 dollars for a small bottle of water!! Horrible manipulation and using childhood obesity as their marketing angle is disgusting. They’re selling a free product. These are snake oil salesmen using kids to manipulate.

    I am with you on this. Wataah is a whole lot of bull.

  8. gayle leonard is my hero
    gayle leonard is my hero says:

    So it’s been a year since this was actually posted, but I just stumbled upon it. I could not agree more with the author’s original posting and response. We can let the marketers parent our children, or we can parent. Period.

  9. hb
    hb says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the previous commenter, Jake. Gayle GO AFTER SODA, Make such an angry irresponsibly written post about the misleading and dangers of juices and “vitamin waters” of the world. WHy would you come down so hard on a drink that gets children to simply enjoy drinking water?

    The fact of teh matter is, soda, juice companies, and more spend BILLIONS in marketing, product placement and design to attract children to drink and eat their unhealthy goodies!
    HOW can you blame Wat-Aah! for establishing an attractive and cool campaign to get kids to drink WATER! WATER!!!!!! WOMAN ARE YOU MAD!? Clearly, by your blog and reply, you are mad. Redirect your sentiments towards PEPSI and the like and I BET you would make a difference in the world, through your blog.

    Like other comments have said, SHAME ON YOU! You are so caught up in the politics of the campaign, the company, and the drink, that you fail completely and sadly to see the goal, the positive message, and the necessity for us to GET OUR CHILDREN TO SEE WATER AND SAY THAT IS WHAT I WANT!

    Your initial attack on the company name proves this is a personal attack because it has nothing to do with the product, Let Water Be Water, LLC is clever and responsible…wish we could say the same for you!

  10. Dorothy
    Dorothy says:

    I never heard of the stuff til one day when I didnt have any water to send to school with my boys I gave them money to buy water at school. Low and behold what they got was wat aah and they loved it. It is all I hear about now mom can I have some wat aah? I so wish I could buy it in a store (dont shop online) My kids are 5 and 7 and i let them make food choices all the time and since I started them out right they usually choose the healthy item.. a choice between a banana or a cookie and 9 out of 10 times they choose the banana!! By the way where we live in AZ the tap water is nasty and I mean very nasty it even smells funny so bottled water is the way we have to go. Brita filter does not help either….

  11. Scott
    Scott says:

    You’d be surprised how good this water really is for you. Soda is poison, I weighed 250 lbs in my teens and early 20s. Since 23 ive been 155 lbs. Soda was the main cause, kids get easily addicted to the sugar and caffeine , same as their parents, and it can destroy your life. This water tastes great no fluoride or impurities like many other brands. COKE, PEPSI, and other brands have been poisoning the human race. Its akin to you’re pet dog drinking antifreeze because it tastes sweet. Drink WAT-AAH and WAKE UP!

  12. Joe
    Joe says:

    Wow, how can you bash a product as noble as this one? I see this company getting involved with local kids all the time. This is rediculous. Either way We really enjoy WAT-AAH! and hope others feel the same way

  13. Jaime
    Jaime says:

    This posting has gotten feedback 3 years after it was posted and I find that wildly entertaining!! Products will market. Some are healthy and some are unhealthy, but either way, as long as they are legal, it is going to happen — it’s inevitable. Wataah is using the most natural resource, bottling and selling it, much like Poland Spring, Nestle, Evian, Smartwater, yada, yada, yada. The difference? They are targeting children and putting an upbeat and positive spin on something that could not be less appealing to kids as is. Kudos Wataah, keep it up!

  14. Martha Medigovich
    Martha Medigovich says:

    I am 58 and my preferred choice of water is

    WAT AAH !!!!!!

    I didn’t even know it was aimed at kids – it sounded better than most water that was NOT on sale at the time!! I wish my grandkids could see some of the marketing for Wat aah! so they would drink more of the stuff!

  15. Chris H
    Chris H says:

    Stop, GAYLE. This is based on your assumption of nature vs nurture, forcing your kids to “Drink the tap water” like its some t0ugh-love scheme thats going to have some lasting valuable success. Fact: Most kids dont like drinking water from TAP. Why roast a product thats marketing water towards children? Times have changed and obesity is at an all-time high, isnt it best to have a HAPPY healthy child, than your anti-nuture method? I wont even drink water from tap, I have no intentions on poisoning my body with fluoride and wouldnt have my son consume everything thats in today’s water supply.

  16. Troobeesez
    Troobeesez says:

    @chrisH: I’m with you on the idea we have no choice about what’s in our municipal water (not only fluoride, but God-knows-what-else), but since lots of people do drink bottled water these days, we need to acknowledge the absence of fluoride in those bottles. Proper hygiene plays a strong role, of course, but so does fluoride in water. It does help teeth (and bones?) be stronger, and cavities are less common since putting it in the water became pretty much the norm.

    So, if you’re avoiding tap water for drinking, please use a fluoride mouthwash to get the fluoride onto your teeth! I do believe in it, but admit I’m not terribly educated about it, while at the same time hate the idea of the gov’t deciding for me that I really need to have it in my tap water. (I mean, what’s it doing to my hair/auto paint/tomatoes????) Also, fwiw, I think the Brita takes the fluoride out of the water, and in spite of what I said above, that doesn’t seem like the greatest idea. Sadly, plenty of people have no choice or understanding of the hows/whys of raising healthy children (those who don’t have a computer or Internet access, I mean, or ever even heard of fluoride)… those families are who probably benefit from fluoride in tap water. Those families may find bottled water to be a luxury, as well.

  17. Troobeesez
    Troobeesez says:

    Oh, and about the article? She’s right! Anytime Madison Avenue figures out a way to separate you from your money for a non-essential, that’s advertising, and it means someone else is doing your thinking for you (imho). On the other hand, if an advertising campaign can get water into kids where soda pop would usually be first choice, that can’t be bad.

    On the third hand (!), whatever happened to good old MILK? Sure water’s better than pop, but milk is better, and is essential for growing bodies and brains. WHOLE MILK, that is, which has certain fats that are required for proper brain development. “Fat” isn’t always a sin!

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  1. MePregnant says:

    Thirsty in Suburbia » Blog Archive » WAT-AAH Crock! Parents ……

    If all this fails, modern parents, try my method (with your kids’ permission, of course.) It’s been successfully road-tested on my three children and millions of others: “Soda? NO WAY-AHH. Here’s your tap WAT-AHH.” ……

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