You may have noticed that in recent years, more and more drinks claiming to be “healthy” are appearing on your grocery store shelves. And you’re not crazy! (At least not in this instance.) While soft drink consumption is currently in the middle of a five-year decline, healthier alternatives are responsible for 40% of the industry’s growth.
But as we’ve all known since basically forever, something that calls itself healthy isn’t necessarily so. Researchers regularly call out beverage companies for pushing drinks with dubious health claims not backed up by science.
As consumers, we like to think we’re savvy enough to avoid this sort of scam, but as Douglas Bevans recently proved, we all still have plenty to learn. He’s the CEO of “Hot Dog Water,” a new company that sells a product that’s exactly what it sounds like: bottled water that was used to boil hot dogs. Like other bougie, overpriced health drinks, it comes in a sleek glass bottle and its name has unnecessary accent marks. Unlike those other drinks, this one actually comes with a hot dog inside. And it only costs $38.
Bevans unveiled the product at Vancouver’s Car Free Day festival, where excited customers lined up to try the healing elixir, and read about the drink’s many supposed benefits. According to an info sheet posted at the Hot Dog Water booth, it’s gluten free, Keto-diet compatible, and chock full of sodium–perfect for replacing those electrolytes we all seem to lose so often. Drinking Hot Dog Water will help you lose weight, improve brain function, look younger, and “increase vitality.”
If all that sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is–at the bottom of that same info sheet, Bevans admits that the whole thing is a hoax.
“It’s really sort of a commentary on product marketing, and especially sort of health-quackery product marketing,” Bevans told Global News.
Bevans’s goal was to encourage people to be more discerning. The info sheet read, “Hot Dog Water in its absurdity hopes to encourage critical thinking related to product marketing and the significant role it can play in our purchasing choices.”
They definitely got the “absurd” part right. The phrase “hot dog water” evokes an image of a hot dog cart with sad, clammy hot dogs sitting in an inch of lukewarm gray water–pretty much the last thing you’d ever want to drink, much less drink to get healthier.
But we live in a world where Asparagus Water is a real thing, so of course plenty of people still fell for the gag.
Despite the price tag and the disgusting-ness, Bevans still moved plenty of product. “They’ve been drinking it for hours,” Bevans said during the festival. “We have gone through about 60 liters of real hot dog water.”
Still, Bevans does think enough people got the message–which is nice, because Bevans spent about $1,200 of his own money to stage the stunt. As he told Global News:
“From the responses, I think people will actually go away and reconsider some of these other $80 bottles of water that will come out that are ‘raw’ or ‘smart waters,’ or anything that doesn’t have any substantial scientific backing but just a lot of pretty impressive marketing.”
Hopefully, this will inspire us all to do just that, and only follow health trends that actually make us healthier.
Speaking of which, who wants to try my new all-chocolate starfish diet?
h/t: Daily Mail