Backlash = Opportunity?

February 22, 2008
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With estimates that Americans toss more than 38 billion plastic water bottles each year, the bottled water sector has become a target for environmental activists (despite industry protests that the bottles account for just 0.33 percent of the country’s waste). As category leaders contemplate how to get out of the negative spotlight, and consumers decide whether to own up to their responsibility to recycle, marketers in other categories are quickly stepping in to leverage the situation. Take the Brita Water Co. The company has teamed with Nalgene, a maker of reusable beverage containers, to launch the FilterForGood campaign (www.filterforgood.com), which encourages people to reduce their “personal waste” by making a pledge to switch to a reusable bottle and filtered tap water. Can bottled water brands learn something? Is there a future in Evian or Figi water filters, for instance? We can’t say. But the takeaway is that there’s an upside (read: opportunity) to every situation.

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