People Water

March 30th, 2013

One of my classmates recently blogged about people water’s¬†“double bottom line” commitment to creating social outcomes while still making profits. People Water is a for-profit, but for-cause business; similar to TOMS, their Drop for Drop business model proves they are a business that is about more than just profits. For every bottle of water purchased, People Water will give an equal amount of clean water to a person in need. A great social entrepreneurship idea to justify the company’s approximate $3/bottle water.

My question is why do they use the ¬†following advertising line to target ¬†retailers: “What carry People Water? We want to change the world! Americans are still good people — kind, caring, socially and environmentally conscious.” ..Environmentally conscious??! Does having a “Drop for Drop” business model compensate your “environmentally conscious” advertising when you are selling bottled water? Ok, to be fair they claim their bottles are made from eco-friendly plastic bottles, but still, they are selling bottled water. Seems kind of ironic to me.

Funny enough, I first heard of People Water when Jef Holm, one of the co-founders of People Water, appeared as a contestant on ABC’s The Bachelorette (season 8). Holm, along with 24 other contestants, competed week after week to win over Bachelorette Emily Maynard’s heart. In the finale, it was Jef Holm that beat Sean Lowe after Emily accepted his wedding proposal (but the two are no longer together). Regardless, I’m skeptical on Jef’s initial intention for going on the show, whether he honestly thought he would find true love or he used the show to leverage his then new company, People Water. What ever the reason, the marketing worked as the show’s whole dedicated fan base knew about his company during, and following the show. I am certain that publicity he and his business received from being on the show gave People Water enormous exposure. Following the show Jef and Emily travelled to Ghana where they worked (and tweeted, instagrammed, facebooked, blogged about, etc.) on a well-building project that furthered media attention. At the time, it seemed as if Jef Holm had it all, he got the girl and his business was a booming success. Cha-ching!

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