Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Did I get that 80's song stuck in your head? Great because that was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this:

It's part of an inventive new campaign from Tappening, an organization aimed at reducing bottled water consumption. It's a popular trend that has inspired the proliferation of the annoyingly over-priced Sigg water bottles and banning of bottled water use by some government offices.

In a very aggressive move, Tappening is launching a campaign of self-admitted "lies" about bottled water. Their rationale being that the bottled water industry touts many lies about the health and purity of its products, and so it is only fair to fight fire with fire.

They are even encouraging people to start their own lies about bottled water across various social media channels on their site, startalie.com.

I do have to give them props for this inventive strategy. It shows a keen understanding of human nature. This hearkens back to what I kept saying about the whole Prop 8 strategy: it is easier to push human behavior with the very base human emotion of fear rather than convincing and compelling with love. Pro-Prop 8: fear mongering of societal demise. Anti-Prop 8: love is for everyone. Any time you can inspire fear in groups of people you can get them to go along with what you say. Witness American military engagement in Iraq, post-911 which enjoyed wide public support because of fear.

Tappening has "tapped" into this by recognizing that you are going to receive limited support by getting all squishy and emotional about reducing plastic waste and saving the environment, but if you can get people to see the bottled water industry as nefarious, deceitful, and harmful . . . well, then now you are going to get people moving.

While I support the cause, I am still morally unsettled on the tactic.

Interestingly, this issue has recently come to the fore in my personal life. As a new denizen of Los Angeles, I am the beneficiary of the City of Los Angeles' wonderful water treatment facilities! . . . which makes water taste like swill. This was particularly noted when we were out at dinner with our good friend Adam who described the water here as "slimy". I just think it tastes like pool water (read: HEAVY chlorine). Shane also does not like the water in LA and suggested we get water delivered to our home. Our PUR water filter only reduces the funky taste, but does not eliminate it. I was immediately concerned about the carbon footprint of water delivery, but Tappening's own link to an LA water analysis did nothing to make me feel better about drinking local tap, highlighting 46 pollutants in my tap water!

Tappening has even taken aim at my beloved San Pellegrino! I enjoy Pellegrino as an alternative to soft drinks and beer, not as a regular form of hydration. You can take my Evian, but you can never take . . . my Pellegrino!

Seriously, though, I support carrying your own reusable water bottle (I carry one myself) and getting people to think more about where the waste from their casual consumption goes, so I wish Tappening luck in their campaign to slash bottled water at the knees and if you want to help--start getting creative with your fibbing: www.startalie.com.


mimi said...

thoughtful, true and urgent! let's shout from the rooftops!

Billy Reano said...

Yeah, to be honest, I thought that the campaign was a little off. After reading your blog post, it was cool to see it as them being smart to fight fire with fire, rather than getting all cute-sy and sincere. Thanks for the post.

Hope you're doing well in LA, and yeah, good luck with the water.

Colt said...

Wait a second there is not really polar bear tears in my water...I feel cheated.