There's (thankfully) been a lot of attention focused lately on the behind-the-scenes influence of corporations on public policy and opinion -- see Jane Mayer's great expose of the extremely powerful billionaire Koch brothers for a good example. Over the last year we've seen corporations sponsor "grassroots" movements fighting health care reform, the oil industry back anti-climate legislation 'Energy Citizen' rallies, and more. Perhaps not wanting to be outdone, the bottled water industry has manufactured its own front group, ostensibly to fight for every citizen's right to, yes, drink bottled water. Watch the group's awkwardly bizarre promo video is above.This video is evidently just one of a series featuring Bottled Water Matters Girl, and appears to be produced in such a manner so as to capitalize on the recent trend of everyman, grassroots-modeled populism that's been so effective at galvanizing events like Tea Party protests and gatherings.
Katherine Goldstein explains the history of the 'movement':
One particularly enjoyable environmental front group to monitor is Bottled Water Matters, which is funded by The International Bottled Water Association, a trade industry group. With a website, YouTube channel, Twitter feed and Facebook page they present themselves as concerned citizens and good, honest bottled water enthusiasts ...But the strangest thing about this particular "grassroots" movement to me is just how out of touch and overextended it is -- it seems like a pretty big stretch for the industry to assume it can make people think they're fighting to defend their freedom of choice by asking their congressman to protect bottled water. I can't imagine even the most diehard libertarian getting fired up over their right to drink bottled water.
Perhaps the best part of Bottled Water Matters is its hilariously low-life, faux girl reporter YouTube videos. With bad lighting, amateur editing, and overall low production value, you can't help but wonder if this is a well-funded industry's attempt to make these videos look like they spring from grassroots sincerity when, in reality, Big Water is footing the bill.
Also interesting is the claim employed here, that we've grown well-accustomed to hearing -- that moving to limit wasteful consumption or institute environmental protections amount to assaults on American freedoms. Which is more often than not, ridiculous. Bottled water, for instance, is wasteful, pointless, and requires a ton of petroleum to manufacture and recycle. Americans have the option to fill their reusable bottles with perfectly good tap water, at 1% of the cost. That's what I call freedom.