In the early '80s, there was a joke in the beverage industry where execs looked at water and said, "If only we could just bottle this stuff!" Oh, how they laughed. Sure, there were some bottled-water brands, like Perrier, but they served mostly as a punch line (like in Heathers). But then the dam broke, and by the '90s the bottled-water trend had firmly taken hold. All the brands launched massive campaigns to position themselves as healthier, purer, better water. The brilliant marketers had us all feeling like if we drank tap water we were either uncool or unhealthy. Today, all of that spin has gone out the window. Consumers have begun a backlash against bottled water because it's expensive (water can generally be had for free) and wasteful (plastic isn't so good at decomposing). Well, they can't lower their prices than they already have, so now they are attacking the second problem—waste. Today, Aquafina announced it now has the lightest bottle in the market. Its "Eco-fina" bottle uses 50 percent less plastic, saving an estimated 75 million pounds of the stuff annually. While that is truly admirable, it likely won't help category sales, which are beginning to resemble more of a flushing toilet than a gushing dam.
—Posted by Kenneth Hein