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August 11th, 2011

Nestle Encourages Consumers to Trade one Bad Addiction for Another

By Kate Fried

Earlier this week, Nestlé announced word of its new social media campaign to get health-minded consumers “hooked” on their sparkling water products. Their “Nature’s Fix” campaign is intended to sell consumers more unnecessary, environmentally destructive bottled water by marketing it through adorable woodland creatures pushing samples of some quality flavored sparkling H20. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually skeptical when a beverage company incorporates a cartoon bear to hard sell me on a “natural” beverage choice like it’s some sort of breakfast cereal. This is water. I don’t need a middleman to add flavor to it.

According to the multinational water-bottling giant, the campaign is designed to encourage consumers to replace their soda and fruit juice habits with a new one: Nestlé flavored sparkling bottled water. The need for this campaign is even supported by what is undoubtedly a very scientific poll that reveals that U.S. consumers are ready to make more positive lifestyle choices, and that one-quarter of soda-drinking Americans would be open to replacing their soda habit with sparkling bottled water.

ORC International conducted the poll, although Nestlé’s press release doesn’t actually link to the survey results. Therefore, inquiring minds will just need to take Nestlé’s word at face value.

What’s most perplexing about this announcement however, is that there’s very little evidence that Nestlé is actually using social media in any sort of innovative manner to create a community around its products, or to get consumers “hooked” on them. Earlier today, I took a peek at Facebook pages created for some Nestlé bottled water brands as part of the campaign, and I saw very little going down besides some opportunities to download a coupon. What’s so innovative about that?

Confusion about tactics aside, the bottom line is that we do not need to get “hooked” on any more products that compromise access to safe, clean affordable water resources or the eco-systems that sustain them. I therefore hope you will join me as I indulge in a fix of a very different nature—good old-fashioned water from the tap.

Are you as annoyed by Nestlé’s “Nature’s Fix” campaign as I am? Go visit their campaign pages on Facebook and let them know that you don’t “like” what they’re up to.

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