Evian Spray: Oh, The Humanity…

Yes, this is a real product. It’s Evian water in a disposable spray can. Why? Well, according to Evian’s website, the “millions of tiny droplets” moisturize thirsty skin, help set make up, and do all kinds of other refreshing things. It’s even (supposedly) possible to recycle the can, which comes in a number of convenient sizes you can stash away in a pocket or purse.

The benefits are all probably true. A nice fine mist of water on a tired face does indeed sound refreshing and since it makes your face wet, it technically moisturizes. But what would possess a consumer to shell out up to $10 for a 5 ounce can of this stuff – from a magical source in the French alps – when they could probably rig up their own little mister can full of water to a very similar effect if they really felt they needed it? There’s nothing wrong with walking around with a mister on a hot day. So what’s the motivation for the extra cost of these? Simple – sheer vanity and the desire to feel luxurious association with a brand. Same reason people buy $12,000 watches.

But unlike a $12,000 watch, which is made to last generations, these silly things are shipped around the world by the boat load, and in all likelyhood chucked in the trash soon thereafter. With Evian Spray, your vanity also comes with complete nonchalance toward any environmental or social externalities whatsoever. That makes it a ridiculous thing to buy.

Buy them by the 3-pack
Am I wrong for dismissing this product with such force? If you’re a regular reader of this site, it’s not likely you’re Evian’s target market. You might react to products like this with a combination of anger and pity, with perhaps a dose of questioning your faith in humanity. I find the whole thing fascinating. Is Evian an irresponsible company for marketing things like this? What trick of psychology is being used to make impressionable people think this is really better than filtered tap water? If this product actually makes people happy, does it matter? Isn’t Evian just capitulating to the consumer demand for luxury and fantasy?

Like most complicated issues, it’s a mixed bag. Sure, Evian spends a lot of money promoting this stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s people who make the decision to purchase it. If there’s demand, someone will deliver, dancing babies and all. Whether that makes Evian irresponsible is besides the point, someone else will come through.

The best solution for those of us who care? Do a better job marketing an alternative. There’s a business opportunity here for sure. Think about it: little misters made of recycled material – bedazzled to make them expensive. Sell them with fancy Brita filters so you can refill on demand. Associate them with some glamorous female celebrity, and bam, you’re a millionaire and Evian spray goes the way of the dodo. Just give 3p some credit.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

2 responses

  1. This just made my Friday a little worse. Yet another ridiculous product that we don’t need with a string of energy and resources behind it.

    Bottled water companies have a tendency to be some of the more deft at warping their product into a green message. Natural… clean… refreshing… I mean, it’s water so naturally people conjure up a good image despite the fact that we know that bottled water in general is a tremendous waste of energy and plastic.

    All that aside, I think it still does “matter”. The free market is good at buying and selling things, not necessarily at making quality products that are a reflection of forward thinking and sustainable values (and it may never be). Just because there are people to buy this nonsense does not legitimize it’s creation and sale.

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