Clueless American Football Brutes Chug Crystal Geyser

World Cup fever is everywhere, and excitement for this international marketing sports event is exploding… even in the USA where many don’t “get” the game itself or why it’s “erroneously” refered to as football. What a prime opportunity for non-US marketers to poke a little fun, as in this Hong Kong-produced ad for Crystal Geyser, “Wrong sport, right water.” (Notice the scoreboard: USA vs. Europe!? I think I missed that match!)

Big-Time Water Utility Advertising for a Tiny Audience

Looks like our local utility has placed an ad! A full page ad in the newspaper! On Sunday! Too bad almost no one under 50 reads the paper anymore in this town (oops, I’ve let a secret slip!)

So what does this big, costly full-page ad say?! Hmmmm. I’m not quite sure. I think it says that our tap water is good. Or maybe not good. I’m not a water engineer or scientist, so I’m clueless as to what this actually means. One thing is certain: I’m pretty sure they’re communicating that the water meets minimum standards and is not breaking any regulations or laws. My untrained eye does see that our water contains some cyanide and other icky stuff, but hey, guv’ment says it’s acceptable, so it must be so! Read more

The Next Big Thing: Toilet Tank Billboards

You see just a plain toilet. A visionary entrepreneur, though, sees a new space available to make money with ads. The 15,000+ attendees at the PPAI* Expo in Las Vegas must have had their heads spinning with thoughts of a royal flush of untapped opportunity for these imprintable toilet tank covers…although it seems there’s something not quite right with the design concept, at least for women…hmmmm. Read more

The Value of Water, Explained by Two Grannies

Those witty folks at Yorkshire Water UK are at it again, with time with a kooky campaign centered on two thrifty Grannies. “Edna and Mary” urge us to “Look ‘ow much you get for your money!” and are backed by a spot on the telly, their own corner of “t’interweb,” and of course, Twitter and Facebook.

It’s a wide stream of slapstick silliness surrounding know-it-all Edna and disheveled Mary. But grounding it all is the fact that Grannies everywhere will definitely be paying a lot more for water in the future. It’s no joke that many people don’t comprehend the huge (and escalating) costs and complex infrastructure required to deliver the cheap, clean tap water we take for granted. From the video’s YouTube page,

Research has highlighted to us that nearly 40% of our customers don’t know what they get for their money when it comes to their water bill. It’s important to us that our customers understand what they get for their money so we’ve launched this latest campaign to explain where your money goes.

The website is loaded with campy jokes and stereotypical dialogue which sometimes goes a bit too far; despite this, the two frugal frumps are a gateway to a lot of valuble, concise information, like “How do we spend your money?” or “how we collect and treat your water.”

YouTube commenters have quickly piled on with the expected criticisms, mostly on the theme of you’re wasting the public’s money on this stupid campaign and advertising.

A mentor of mine once told me, “If you’re not being criticized, you’re not making progress.” He was right.

Embedded video below or view on YouTube here.

Austin, Beware of the Blob

Austin Water Utility demonstrates that slimy, greasy, fatty subject matter can really get the creative juices flowing!  “Stop the Grease Blob” sounds like a band playing at Austin’s SXSW, but is actually a video from the city’s campaign to alert customers to the horrifying consequences of putting greases and fats down the drain. We love the screaming females and melodramatic music. Made me laugh (and snagged them an award.)

And if, like me, you imagine sewer blobs as more brownish and stinky-chunky, there’s also a campaign poster with a more surreal, scary-cute sewer savage. Repulsive, yet adorable!

A Water Symphony Sings for Skoda

For all the irritation wrought by boorish, intrusive advertising, let’s remember: occasionally advertising offers us some rare, aesthetic delight that stops us in our tracks.

Such is the case with this ad for Czech auto manufacturer Škoda featuring experimental Czech musician Petr Spatina. He is seen playing 597 water-filled Schott Zwiesel crystal wine glasses… arranged in the shape of a car! You might assume that since this is a lowly advert there’s bound to be trickery or illusion involved. But there isn’t. The sweet melody is real and authentic.


See more at Petr Spatina’s website goodwatermusic.com.

Tap Water, Now Competing in Vancouver

Water utilities and municipalities are finally getting hip to the promotional opportunity that big events can present. From little local festivals to the Olympics, events are a perfect place for tap water proponents to strut their stuff. Vancouver is getting in the game despite overwhelming competition from heavily-favored Coca Cola/Dasani, who has paid handsomely for their Olympic sponsorship slot.

During the Olympic Games, The City of Metro Vancouver and the Province of Ontario set up a “water wagon” downtown to offer local tap water straight from the Seymour Reservoir.

Thanks to Sweet One on Flickr, who snapped this shot on his iPhone, we can have a peek! He and others, though, pointed out that while the water was clear the benefactor was not!

Apparently the Province of Ontario is serving Metro Vancouver tap water… to promote Ontario tap water? I’m confused.

Maybe it’s because we’re all so unaccustomed to cooperation when water is involved!

Anyhow, Metro Vancouver has been running a tap water campaign since 2008; one of the the stated goals was to reduce bottled water use 20% by 2010. (Wait, that’s NOW!) With a sluggish economy, all the cheapies and frugalistas gotta love the price–13 liters for just a penny.

Speaking the Universal Language of Cute

These spots from Nickelodeon Latin American are meant to teach kids “green” behaviors, but people of all ages can certainly delight in their irresistible cuteness. Sadly, I happen to know that people of all ages can learn a few tips from the not-so-elementary lessons!

Little green box-guy “Verdito” was created as a companion to “Cubit,” who’s the little orange box-guy mascot of Nick Latin America. I love these spots because they’re so simple, funny and appealing that we don’t notice any age, language or cultural barriers. Just the message. So listen up.


This spot promotes last October’s Global Handwashing Day:

2009 Wet and Wild Water Gift Guide, Part 2

The NoPoPo (No Pollution Power) Battery (japantrendshop.com, US $55) charges with almost any liquid out there, from water to beer to cola to….human urine! Charging the NoPoPo is simple: just suck your liquid of choice up with the syringe, then squeeze it into the battery. Besides being incredibly handy, the NoPoPo batteries are also good for the earth, with 100% non-toxic materials and a ten-year shelf life.

Winter is coming up, and it’s time to break out the humidifiers for the cold and dry season. CCP Japan has released the Mini PET Bottle Humidifier (japantrendshop.com, US $117) which lets you recycle your plastic water bottles while keeping the air healthy. Using anti-bacterial cartridges, the humidifier is safe as well, and gives out powerful amounts of moisture in three levels.

Waterproof Headphone System from H2O Audio ($99) The team that developed this item collaborated with gold medal swimmers Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin to develop this swim specific music solution. Features a variety of earplugs sizes and styles, a secure swim goggle attachment system and an ergonomic design.

From the NewYorkerStore.com, small Framed Cartoon Print (14 x 18) – $195.00 (Dutch boy standing by the broken dike filling bottles that say ‘Natural Dike Water.’) Published in The New Yorker 5/20/1991 by Bernard Schoenbaum.

Recycle Water Cuff Links ($18.25) from Bella Moda Artists on Etsy. Each cuff link is carefully handmade using resin, recycled paper and silver plate. Measures 1/2″ and includes gift box. (If you have your own idea and want to personalize your cuff links, just inquire!)

From Aqua Gems at watereducation.org, this Beaded Silver Fish bracelet ($45) has tiny bubbles chased by little silver fish along a length of Bali silver and white turquoise round and heishi-type beads. It measures approximately 7.5″ long and is finished with a simple sterling silver toggle. Handmade in California and from the Pacifica Collection.

From Isotope on Etsy, the Water Cycle T-shirt ($18) features an oversize graphic illustration of our Earth’s Hydrological Cycle. High-quality print in multiple colors with super-soft water-based ink on Unisex 100% cotton Ring-Spun Fitted T-shirt.

Water-themed mugs from Zazzle.com, $13.95 – $17.95 each; Instant Water, I Drank the Water and Conserve Water, Dilute it.

River carpet from Kateha ($509 VAT excluded) Swedish artist Erika Lagerbielke has designed the hand woven River carpet that gives you an illusion of floating water and waves. Available in white/red or white/grey. Made in 100% wool. Hand woven. Size: 170×240 cm.

Liquid Series Lighted Umbrella from amazon.com ($38) Inside its patented chrome housing, this umbrella stores and releases a retractable 6-volt krypton bulb. The light can be turned on or off, simply, using the water resistant push-button switch located in the handle.

2009 Wet and Wild Water Gift Guide, Part 1

The Frog-O-Sphere™ from Brookstone ($39.95) includes 2 aquatic mini frogs, Living Gravel™ and a bamboo plant. Your new little buddies, the frogs, won’t outgrow the tank. Living Gravel™ acts as a biological filter, converting excess food and waste into a soluble form that can be used by the bamboo plant. Just like trees in our environment, the bamboo absorbs liquid and gaseous elements and releases oxygen, which helps the frogs thrive.

The LED Showerhead from Maplin (£29.99) We all like colour in our life and now you can have a kaleidoscope of colours in your own shower! It phases through vibrant green, red and blue to make showering that bit more fun for kids, both big and small! You don”t even need batteries as it is powered by an internal waterwheel – so it”s multi-coloured and green at the same time. Simply connects to your existing shower hose via a universal screw fixing.

Water Pitcher from Design Within Reach ($85) Using Iouseki stones and Binchotan charcoal, the Charcoal Water Pitcher creates filtered, mineral-rich water. The stones come from the mountains in Kanazawa, the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast. The charcoal is specially prepared for potable water use, and also works as a deodorizer to create odor-free water. In place of filters that need monthly replacement and add to landfill, Iouseki stones and Binchotan charcoal last up to six months (depending on use). In addition to being an eco-friendly solution, this elegant Water Pitcher can go from fridge to table, rather than having to pour the water into a suitable serving vessel. The Water Pitcher comes with one set of Purifying Sticks and Stones; additional sets can be purchased separately. ($25)

Kishu Binchotan (68 euros excluding VAT) from sortofcoal.com soaks up chlorine from tap water while releasing natural minerals into it. Kishu Binchotan softens the water and improves the overall taste. Bottle is mouth blown and is designed by Fragile, Denmark. Sort of Coal is products feature natural handmade active charcoal, so-called White Charcoal that emphasizes both the function and the aesthetic. It looks black, but is called White Charcoal because of its purifying ability and white shine and has been used in Japan for several centuries.

Speaking of Japan, The Japanese company Toto makes a toilet that senses when you enter the room and automatically lifts the pre-warmed lid. Additional sensors next to the toilet activate an MP3 player with 16 preloaded tunes and a media slot for SD cards so you can load in your own music library.

After you’re finished, the toilet automatically flushes and closes the lid. (I don’t know how much or how you’d acquire one this outside of Japan… get to work, there’s a few weeks left!)

The Walking Water Ball from Zorbasia on ecvv.com comes in two sizes, 2.0 or 2.5 meters. It’s made of TPU or PVC. A customized design is allowed, woo hoo!  (size, material, color, logo). Made in Guangdong in China, FOB Price: 200-280 USD. Payment Terms: Bank Transfer, Western Union, PayPal. Delivery Time: 3 days.

Showertime is a simple, battery operated, five minute timer with a blue and red lighting sequence. The lights change from blue to red while showering and flash red during the last 30 seconds. It helps encourage water users to change wasteful behavior in the shower by gently reminding users when it’s time to turn the shower off. It installs quickly and easily with no tools required.

Spirit of Water Barbie doll $68.49 from Amazon.com wears a beautiful turquoise suede dress with a long cream colored fabric belt with fringe. A traditional full-length wrap in turquoise suede with white fur trim accompanies the ensemble. Her long suede boots are the same fabric as the dress accented with white fringe. She wears a choker and a single strand beaded necklace with medallion and feather to complement her outfit. Long brown hair is in two braids, each accented with a beaded hair ring.

She comes with an authentic looking rain stick hat has real sounds. A feathered hair ornament completes her striking Native American look.

These chic tap water bottles from tapwater-bottle.com are made of glass and are 100% recyclable…a moot point, since your recipient will want to reuse them forever.

The bottles are available in two different sizes – 250 mL ($10) and 500 mL ($12). While they’d be easy to carry around with you, glass is of course breakable although these are extra thick and tough.

From uncommongoods.com ($45) This glass and metal faucet sculpture features flowing glass “water” and is handmade by artist Gary Guydosh in Pennsylvania, where glass has a distinctively rich history. The piece is created using classic glassblowing techniques and craftsmanship.

Terra Cotta Water Whistle, $6 from tenthousandvillages.com

Amazing terra cotta whistle imitates the song of birds. For a warble sound fill the whistle with water and blow on it, and have fun experimenting with different levels of water and holding the bird at different angles. Terra cotta bird will also whistle if blown without water. Terra cotta, 4″L x 2″W x3″H, and made in Cameroon.