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July 28, 2007

Fine Lines in Aquafina Brand Name

Aquafina bottleThe CNN Money headline proclaims "Pepsi says Aquafina is tap water."

If you read the article, though, Pepsi never denied that (like its rival from Coca-Cola, ) is essentially tap water. They just didn’t make the truth explicit enough for .

The old Aquafina labels say "P.W.S." instead of "Public Water Source." Now, admittedly, "Public Water Source" might not have been my first guess as to what "P.W.S." stood for. But the initials by no means conjured up visions of pure mountain springs (should such a thing still exist).

And I would argue that Aquafina, Dasani, and the like taste better and are safer than a lot of tap water in the US, never mind in countries whose public water supplies are home to unfriendly intestinal parasites. They may be overpriced for what they are, but then, so is soda, and part of what we’re paying for is the convenient portable container, delivered cold.

Certainly nothing in the name Aquafina is put to the lie by the explicit admission that it comes from the same place as municipal water supplies.

  • “Aqua” just means water in Latin.
  • “Fina” is doubtless meant to conjure the English word “fine,” though the closest Latin word is finis, meaning “end” or “boundary.”

And I would say that wherever it comes from Aquafina is perfectly fine water, but way, way overpriced.

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Posted by Diane Prange at July 28, 2007 4:04 AM
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1 Comment

The name might not be misleading, but I'm going to have to agree with CAI on this one – I think their brand strategy skirts dangerously close to actively reinforcing the idea of a non-tap source.

What, exactly, about high, clean looking mountains with the sun rising over them is meant to evoke city tap water? Not a whole lot, in my mind. There are plenty of good logo choices that capture the essence of cleanliness, purity, and quality that don't also suggest a mountain spring source – which we are all very primed to look for in bottled water sources.

So while I don't think the name itself did anything to foster a false impression, I do think the right decision was made to require a bit more explicitness from Pepsi on this one.

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