What Bottled Water Can Tell Us About Brands

How cultural knowledge can improve your marketing skills

Tom Ford
3 min readSep 20, 2020
Photo by Bin Foch on Unsplash

Marketing Genius: Creating the Myth

Consider the marketing genius behind bottled water.

In the Western World, bottled water represents excess: a ubiquitous commodity available in millions of homes direct from the tap for next to nothing is packaged and sold, often at over a hundred times the cost of the water itself.

Much of the value of bottled water is derived from its convenience, but demand is also created from powerful marketing.

Richard Wilk has pointed out that successful brands create meaning for customers. In this case of bottled water, this is often means evoking feelings of safety through ‘purification’ messaging; this has turned the ultimate commodity into a branded good.

Marketers can often find meaning by using national contradictions, like the inconsistency between the romantic idyll of natural spring water and the technological image of purified water, clean of contamination.

Water companies like Evian ‘tap’ into these stereotypes by using images of mountain springs to evoke feelings of nature which create meaning for consumers, whilst others such as Aquafina capitalize on the message…



Tom Ford

Finance, Tech and Productivity. Studied Economics & Management at Oxford University. Run a UK Student Loan Repayment App business: www.studentcalc.co.uk