Can Branding Sex Up Tap Water?

City officials in Venice have come up with a novel plan for getting consumers to break the bottled water habit: they’ve branded their tap water Acqua Veritas and created a slick ad campaign around it.

Consumers in Italy drink more bottled water than any place in the world. To avoid drowning in a sea of its own trash, Venice came up with the campaign, not-so-quietly touting its tap as originating deep underground in the same region as the popular bottled water brand San Benedetto.

Is it working? Yes and no.

In terms of trash reduction, the Acqua Veritas campaign has already been a success, Venetian officials calculate, reducing the amount of plastic trash over all to 261 tons a month now from 288 tons a year ago…

Still, the campaign to promote the mayor’s water has made little headway with restaurants and stores, which make money selling bottled water.

I don’t know much about Venice’s mayor but, here in New York, when restaurants started referring to tap water as “Guiliani Water” several years ago, it was almost enough to make me pay for the bottled stuff. Almost.

City Known for Its Water Turns to Tap to Cut Trash” [New York Times]

Carrie McLaren & Jason Torchinsky are coeditors of Ad Nauseam: A Survivor’s Guide to American Consumer Culture. In previous lives, they worked together on the hopelessly obscure and now defunct Stay Free! magazine .