Can heavyweight ads sell flyweight products?

April 8, 2009

If you’re advertising an innovative light-weight product, my advice is: don’t send it in a package that’s 140 times heavier than what you’re trying to sell.

PepsiCo’s Aquafina in the United States sent out a news realease saying that its new half-litre water bottles weigh just 10.9 grams, or half as much as a previous design from 2002.

“The lightest weight bottle in the market,” the release says.

Great idea! Less packaging will save the company an estimated 34,000 tonnes of plastic a year, it says. That’s a good step towards saving costs, waste and carbon emissions.

But a box with the release came with three (…yes, three) full (…yes, full) bottles of water: that’s them above, lined up on a Reuters News windowsill. So all of a sudden it’s not 10.9 grams but 1.5 kilos (plus the cardboard packaging), so at least 140 times the weight of a bottle. Maybe someone thinks we reporters don’t drink enough water?

The package was originally sent to me and the Reuters environment blog at the Reuters News office in New York (bad enough). Someone in my company then forwarded the entire package (worse) to Oslo, Norway, where I’m based. That’s a lot of travel for some water.

The bottles are great: but isn’t an empty one just as impressive?

One comment

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We all know the REAL reason for these flimsy thin bottles. PepsiCo is saving HUGE amounts of money on plastic. You will never convince me that they are doing their share to “save the environment”.

Posted by Jay | Report as abusive