Nestle has long maintained it doesn’t denigrate the quality of public water supplies, and though there were plenty of signs that wasn’t the case, the pretense existed.
Now – with Nestle facing zero growth in the bottled water market, the worst economy in decades, and a growing base of anti-bottle activists – their new strategy has become clear: Attack tap water’s quality and purity.
From a recent Advertising Age interview with Nestle CEO Kim Jeffries:
Ad Age: Why shouldn’t everyone just drink tap water if they want a healthful beverage option?
Mr. Jeffery: There’s no one in America that can tell me that what you get out of your tap is the same as what we’re able to deliver in a closed system. [We’re] guaranteeing that product, when you open it up, is high quality. You can’t make that guarantee for tap water that’s coming through an infrastructure that’s as much as 100 years old.
… We represent the only alternative when tap water goes down in America, and it goes down a lot.
Uhh, tap water “goes down a lot?”
Really? It does?
I credit Mr. Jeffries for offering me the perfect kick-off post in what will become a series on Nestle’s new push to reclaim its lucrative bottled water markets.
The world’s largest food & beverage multinational is not about to cede a profitable market to a bunch of stainless-steel-bottle-waving activists, and I predicted long ago that when they finally did rear up on their hind legs, the results wouldn’t be pretty.
So far, they haven’t been. And we’re just getting started.