Archive for June, 2010
In Fiji, people do. From the Land of Invisible People, a tale of magic, water, and real estate.
Here is what is different about “FIJI Water.” There are no people. You will not find pictures of smiling kids on the bottle, or messages of fair trade on the back of it. There is no invitation for you to use your wallet and close the circle of ethical production and consumption. You are not told, as you may be when you sip Starbucks’s Ethos, that your purchase means a school built, a bridge erected, or vaccinations provided. There is no liberally dressed girl, dancing hula and being happy for you as you drink Hawaiian Islands Water.
There are no Fijians in the story of FIJI Water.
All there is, all that matters to you the drinker, is pristine, untouched nature. The company’s single most important message for you is that the moment you open the bottle and taste its contents is the very first time the water in it encounters a human. “Untouched by man.”
To its competitors (Evian, Poland’s Water, Deer Park, Dassani, all owned either by Nestle, Coca-Cola Co., or Pepsi Co), FIJI Water must have come out of nowhere. In the span of five years, starting in 1995, FIJI Water rose to become the biggest selling water bottle import in the U.S. (water’s biggest market), eclipsing Evian. People behind the Operation Fiji Water largely explain its success and are an interesting bunch; more about them in a bit. The remarkable thing is that the mythology FIJI Water built by 2001 was a product of a shrewd and clever market targeting, placement, and buzz building strategy.
Frame 1: Two bottles sit on a table between Al Gore and Mos Def during a 2006 MySpace “Artist on Artist” discussion on climate change.
Frame 2: Protests at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York; panelists sip on FIJI Water at the conference titled “Life After Capitalism.”
Frame 3: Mary J. Blidge won’t sing without it. Paris Hilton loves it.
Frame 4: Obama sips it at cabinet meetings. (The mini version, at that.)
Frame 5: My buddy Denis swears by it.
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