Bling H2O: Making Unsustainable Water a Fashion Statement

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Yesterday, I wrote about a new bottled water company out of Grand Rapids called Boxed Water Is Better that claims to offer a more “sustainable” alternative to bottled water.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is another packaged water product that is available in Grand Rapids, Bling H2O. While not made here, it’s worth noting because it’s so horribly offensive.

It’s sold at the 1913 Room located in the Amway Grand Plaza downtown and goes for a whopping $64 dollars per 750ml bottle. It’s sold as a pure status symbol to appeal to the “super-luxury market.” Its website says:

It’s couture water that makes an announcement like a Rolls Royce Phantom… the “Cristal” of bottled water.

The water comes packaged in a frosted glass bottle that is “exquisitely handcrafted with Swarovski crystals.” The 60 crystals spell out the word “bling.” At the Amway Grand Plaza:

The restaurant serves Bling H2O with tulip-shaped flutes atop sterling silver wine coasters.

A rose is placed into every empty bottle to dress up what Chad LeRoux, director of marketing for the hotel, calls “a novelty item that you can take away with you as a memory of the 1913 Room.”

Unlike Boxed Water Is Better, Bling H2O makes no claims of sustainability. Instead, it says only that its water comes from an undisclosed source in Dandridge, Tennessee. The company says it goes through a nine-step purification process, but with no universal standards for bottled water, it’s impossible to know if it is really any “better” than other water. From there, the water is shipped to high-end hotels and restaurants around the world, a process that results in an untold number of CO2 emissions. The only real mention of the environment comes in the claim that the bottles are “reusable.”

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As if the price, packaging, and environmental aspects weren’t offensive enough, the company’s website throws in a healthy dose of sexism as well. The homepage features a woman that appears to be wearing nothing but a strand of pearls with the bottle of water propped between her heel and buttocks. The water itself is also sexualized, with the company repeatedly describing the different aspects as “pretty.”

While it might seem to be a relic of the pre-economic crisis times, Bling H2O is still alive and kicking. It just released a bargain version that goes for just $20 in plastic bottles. Of course, you’ll have to do without the crystals.

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Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org

3 thoughts on “Bling H2O: Making Unsustainable Water a Fashion Statement”

  1. here you go with the wrong facts… again. bling h2o website doesn’t say:It’s culture water that makes an announcement like a Rolls Royce Phantom… the “Cristal” of bottled water. it says “couture water” obviously you don’t know what that means. secondly the plastic bottles sell for 20.00 per case of 24 that’s 83 cent per bottle for 16.9 ounces. cheaper than Evian or Fiji plastic in the same size. not 20 bucks for a plastic bottle. If you are gonna report information get your facts straight or at least learn to cut and paste!

  2. The typo of “couture” and “culture” is an honest mistake, especially when one is dealing with a poorly done flash website where you can’t cut and paste (but hey, I guess the website needs to be as inaccessible as the water).

    Also, the website never says how many bottles you get for the $20–it just has a link to a picture of Paris Hilton holding it. But, getting 24 as compared to 1 is just more evidence that the water is a joke.

  3. @johnboy:

    The real issue here is the privatization of water. The marketing company who came up with this Bling concept is attempting to hypnotize us into thinking that expensive, bottled water is a commodity that increases status, makes us more desirable, and causes others to envy us.

    But what it actually creates is another link in the chain for one of the cruelest schemes on earth: the takeover by companies like Bechtel and Coca Cola of the water rights of other countries. The prices for water are then set too high for people to get adequate hydration or raise their crops. Bling H20 profits are a part of an equation whose end total is dehydration, hunger, higher infant mortality, and increased adult deaths.

    That can also happen here, and will if we keep stupidly buying into the idea that privately packaged water is a convenience or some kind of status symbol. The line starts with the Swarvorski crystals and ends in the same kind of misery that’s now being inflicted on other countries. At that social cost, I’d say that even a dime for a tacky bottle filled with ordinary tap water is too high.

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