Several studies show that minority parents are more likely to give their children bottled water. A study by the department of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin found that African American and Latino families are three times more likely to give their children only bottled water as compared to white families. The Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine study surveyed 632 people, and found that African American and Latino parents were more likely to give their children bottled water. In fact, the study found that minority children were exclusively given bottled water.
Earlier this month, watchdog group Corporate Accountability International (CAI) accused Nestle of targeting marketing to Latino immigrants in the U.S. A November 19 IPS article quotes a CAI fact sheet that states, “Pure Life marketing specifically targets Latino immigrants in the United States, many of whom have suffered the consequences of poor public water infrastructure in other parts of the world.”
The IPS article also quotes a CAI press release: “For the past 30 years, bottled water corporations like Nestle, Pepsi and Coke have helped build a 15 billion dollar U.S. bottled water market by casting doubts on public drinking water systems.”
Jane Lazgin, director of corporate communications for Nestle Waters North American, told IPS, when asked if Nestle markets specifically to minority communities, “That’s correct.” She added, “Nestle Pure Life is a meaningful brand in the Hispanic population.”
Lazgin added that Nestle Pure Life “comes from wells or municipal systems,” that undergo an “intensive purification process.”
Coca-Cola and Nestle use celebrities to sell bottled water to minorities
One of the strategies that bottled water brands use to market to minorities is through campaigns aimed at minority groups, according to a Forbes article published in August. The article mentions campaigns by Coca Cola and Nestle “aimed at minority moms.”
Coca-Cola’s Dasani brand used R&B star Chilli from TLC in April 2009 to deliver “its message of health and hydration to African American mothers in a special Mother’s Day program,” according to the Forbes article.
“Chilli embodies the struggles and the balance we see in our target audience,” Yolanda White assistant vice president, African American Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, told AdWeek. “She gives reassurance to moms that you can still be a great mom, take care of yourself and look beautiful.”
“Among African American consumers, African American moms are the gatekeeper to the household,” said White.. “We over-index in single-family households, and so reaching Mom is critical.”
Nestle’s Pure Life used Latina TV host Cristina Saralegui as the brand’s spokesperson. When the commercials with Salalegui were aired on television between 2008 and 2010, “the awareness of Pure Life water, and purchase intent levels quadrupled among Hispanics,” according to Forbes.
Nestle’s Pure Life water campaign in summer and fall 2010, “Better Habits for a Better Life” contained a challenged titled “La Promesa (the promise) Nestle Pure Life. According to Forbes, the campaign “basically called upon mothers to pledge to replace one sugary drink in their family’s day with water, or rather, a bottle of Pure Life.” Once a mother’s pledge was registered, she was eligible to win over $20,000 worth of prizes, and a trip for four to Miami.
Photo: Flickr user, the 3786 cups of water
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.