Bottled Waters Back First Lady's 'Drink Up' Campaign
First lady Michelle Obama, PHA's honorary chair, announced the "Drink Up" program Thursday.
"I've come to realize that if we were going to take just one step to make ourselves and our families healthier, probably the single best thing we could do is to simply drink more water," Obama said in a statement. "Drink just one more glass of water a day and you can make a real difference for your health, your energy, and the way you feel."
More than a dozen bottled water brands are participating, including the Nestle Waters North America brands (Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Nestle Pure Life, Ozarka, Poland Spring, Resource and Zephyrhills), Dasani, Evian, Aquafina, Poland Spring, Beverly Hills 90H20 and WAT-AAH.
In the next year, supporting brands will carry the Drink Up logo on nearly 300 million packs of bottled water; more than half a billion bottles of water; 200,000 packages of reusable bottles; and more than 10,000 reusable bottles.
More than 10,000 outdoor public taps also are expected to carry the brand over the next few years.
In addition, the water and other brands are helping get the Drink Up message out by including the logo and messaging in social media, ads, events and other assets.
The ABA has in recent years been busy fending off attempts to ban or tax sodas on the grounds that they contribute to America's obesity crisis. But major members own water as well as soda brands (Coca-Cola's Dasani, for instance), and Drink Up has obvious potential for boosting bottled water sales, although it's not specifically pushing bottled water or any specific brand.
"Every company agreed to focus on just drinking water, not why their water is better," said Larry Soler, CEO of the Partnership For A Healthier America.
The first lady didn't suggest that water be consumed instead of sugary beverages, although she has done so in the past. Many believe Drink Up's real aim is switching kids from soda to water.
New York University food scientist Marion Nestle told Huffington Post that the first lady backed away from criticizing soda because her "Let's Move" childhood obesity initiative needs the food industry's buy-in to succeed. "This is a partnership with soda companies to promote their bottled waters," Nestle said.
She also said the message that Americans don't drink enough water is questionable. "I'm not aware of any nutrition science that backs that up...there's so much water in food and in what people are eating that unless you're an elite athlete, at very high altitude or old where your thirst mechanism doesn't work very well, it's just simply a non-issue in my view," Nestle said.
Environmental advocates voiced concern that the campaign doesn't address plastic bottles' impacts on the environment, or cuts in federal funding for public water systems.
Water filter brands Brita and Soma are also among those on board for Drink Up. Brita has teamed with actress, director and producer Eva Longoria to design a limited-edition bottle featuring the Drink Up logo, and the logo and messaging will be integrated into "The Biggest Loser" through Brita's relationship with that show. Reusable bottle brand S'well is also creating a limited edition bottle.
Research, marketing, media and creative firms donated millions of dollars worth of services. Nielsen supplied consumer insights/data. Antfood Music & Sound Design, BlogHer, Inc., Buck, Cooking Light, Core Strategies, Disney, MyRecipes, Nickelodeon, Proclivity Media, Unite4:Good, VML and Young & Rubicam and donated creative and advertising support.