To Discourage Water Bottles, a Little "Tap" Dancing

Cities like New York and San Francisco have been aggressively marketing the drinkability of their tap water in recent months. With the skyrocketing number of ...
by | June 12, 2009
 

Venice water Cities like New York and San Francisco have been aggressively marketing the drinkability of their tap water in recent months. With the skyrocketing number of consumers using -- and disposing of -- water bottles, cities are pushing the tap as a way to cut waste.

No U.S. city has gone as far as Venice, Italy, though. According to the New York Times, Venice has a particularly daunting problem when it comes to water bottles:  Italians are the leading consumers of bottled water in the world, and Venice (thanks to its lack of streets) has a harder time than other cities collecting its garbage. In fact, garbage collection in Venice costs nearly four times as much as it does on the Italian mainland.

So Venice is marketing its tap water. But it's doing it in a rather brilliant way. From the NYT:

But here in Venice, officials took a leaf from the advertising playbook that has helped make bottled water a multibillion-dollar global industry. They invented a lofty brand name for Venice's tap water -- Acqua Veritas -- created a sleek logo and emblazoned it on stylish carafes that were distributed free to households.

Because tap water is often jokingly called "the mayor's water" in Italy, they even enlisted regional politicians to star in tongue-in-cheek billboards. "I, too, drink the mayor's water," proclaims Venice's mayor, a philosopher named Massimo Cacciari, as he pours a glass.

Yes!  Give it an exclusive-sounding brand name!  People are suckers for that!

Venetian officials are also emphasizing that Venice's tap water comes from "deep underground in the same region as one of Italy's most popular bottled waters, San Benedetto," according to the Times.

And just like in the U.S., tap water-quality is much more heavily regulated that bottled water.

U.S. cities could take a cue from Venice -- "rebranding" tap water is a great idea!  Now, if only they could figure out a way to charge for it, citizens would flock to it in droves.

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