Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mentally Challenged

Advertisers have tried many tricks over the years to con us into buying their wares. Sometimes they fire meaningless scientific jargon at you, or attempt to convince you that a product is good because some influential celebrity happens to drink, eat or otherwise use said product on screen.

However water company Volvic has managed the greatest con I have seen in some time with their aptly named “Volvic Challenge”. To add a bit of context, the “Volvic Challenge” is basically a challenge to drink two and half litres of their bottled “magic” for 14 days. The idea is that because, scientists have proven that water is good, and that Volvic is supposedly amazing that it will make you feel really good. This sounds like a good thing of course, everyone loves to feel healthy and good, but there are of course a few minor setbacks to this.

Firstly, bottled water is unnecessarily expensive, and a litre and a half a day exclusively of Volvic is sure to have the company directors rubbing their hands with glee, as the money comes rolling in as a result. More to that, what’s to say that drinking a litre and half of tap water won’t have the same benefits of drinking bottled water. I mean you’re already paying for tap water, so why bother wasting your money on some bottled rubbish. Volvic are clearly exploiting the naivety of the public, which to be fair is a standard trick amongst advertisers, although the fact they are coercing people to buy what they get supplied already certainly will be a crowning glory for them.

I’d be interested if the tap water challenge has a similar effect to the Volvic equivalent, as it would just undermine the bullshit science that Volvic have rolled out. In fact Volvic have really pushed science to new limits on their website, indeed they have installed on their home page the “How-do-you-feel-ometer” which, well, measures how you feel basically. Isn’t it lovely that everything these days, even science, can be brought down to our level with pure patronisation.

To talk real science for just one minute and leaving the bullshit-ometer aside, it is also notable that bottled water is also quite bad for the environment. I mean for one thing there are the plastics of the bottles themselves, which need to be recycled, the transportation of the water which puts exhaust fumes into the air. Let’s not forget water is very heavy to move, so it will require more energy than your usual haulage requires. So will completing the Volvic challenge feel so good once we’re all choking its environmental impact?

Strangely some people insist on only bottled water, which to me seems ridiculous. Hasn’t anyone noticed we live in a country with water purification and treatment? We don’t live in the third world where the water is polluted. So why insist on drinking something which is otherwise free and plentiful, unless you are on public transport or somewhere where tap water isn’t available and there aren’t many of them.

All I can say on a personal level is I’m not falling for the ploy from Volvic, as long as tap water isn’t going to poison me then I’ll continue drinking that. Volvic isn’t the elixir of life like it is claimed, and I’m not convinced by some sanctimonious hairy twat pretending to record a video diary, and force feeding us how good he feels.