09 May 2007

Pop Culture Infraction: In a Soapy Lather

I’ve become so obsessed with Vitamin Water that I just wrote a letter to Glaceau.

James became addicted to it on his ski trip to Utah earlier this year and as so often is the case, he got me hooked too. This is much bigger than the blue Gatorade phase from a few years ago. I’ve gotten to the point where if a beverage is not fortified with B vitamins, I’m not drinking it. Not to mention, I was finally able to kick my Diet Coke habit with such a worthy replacement. (Now, of course, Diet Coke Plus – diet coke infused with vitamins and minerals – hit shelves this week. Jerks. Coca-Cola=Greedy Gretchen)

My favorite Vitamin Water is the “Revive” fruit punch. Had this healing potion existed 10 years ago, it would’ve made our 20s much more fulfilling. We would’ve spent fewer mornings hanging dark-colored sheets over our windows and more time at those halcyon brunches we’d always planned but never quite made it to.

While there are fewer hangovers these days, the V-water works equally well for sleep deprivation and exhaustion. We will definitely be sending a case to friends within the pointy universe who have babies crowning this summer and fall.

But my gratefulness for this product’s existence is not why I wrote the company; I wrote to inform them of what I believe was a pop culture faux-pas.

One of my favorite things about these Glaceau bevvies is the creative explanation about how each flavor caters to a specific need. For instance, the fruit punch label reads:

“if you woke up tired, you probably need more sleep. if you woke up drooling at your desk, you probably need a new job. if you woke up with a headache, on a ferris wheel at the Idaho state fair, wearing a toga, you probably need answers, not to mention this product. it’s got potassium and b vitamins to help you recover and feel refreshed – kinda like in those old irish spring commercials.”

That last sentence has been picking away at me since this little infatuation began.

They don’t mean Irish Spring, but Coast, “the eye-opener soap that actually brings you back to life.” The two products are easy to confuse. Both soaps had that marbled texture and similar ad campaigns back in the day. However, Irish Spring promised you’d feel “fresh and clean as a whistle” while Coast’s tagline was more on par with Vitamin Water Revive’s current purpose: to "bring yourself back to life."

I have a vivid memory of being at CVS, imploring my mother to buy Coast instead of Irish Spring like we usually did just so I could lather up and act out the commercial in the shower. Disclaimer: I was 7.

I looked up the ads on YouTube earlier and they were even better than I remembered. In one of the earlier spots, the person experiencing a soap revival is played by the mother from “Too Close for Comfort.”
It's likely that Glaceau is fully aware of the discrepancy but chose the more recognizable brand, figuring nerdy throwbacks like me wouldn't be writing letters to point it out. Either way, the correspondence is out there. Who knows what’ll happen. Maybe Glaceau will get me and send along a free case of the juice. Or, not. Since it’s likely the latter, I signed the letter with the alias “KJ Hagberg" -- named after an annoying spammer who recently soiled T-Bag’s inbox with crap about the lakes and waterways of Canada.


lpd said...

My favorite is the Multi-V lemonade, except I swear it gives you heartburn...or maybe I'm just preggers. They have an excellent website, too.

jal said...

KJ - some interesting tidbits I found on Glaceau a.k.a. Energy Brands and your new fave water:

1. In 2004, noted rap artist 50 Cent purchased a stake in Energy Brands, stating that he wanted to make his mark in healthful beverages, as opposed to other rappers who more tightly associate with alcoholic beverages (such as Hpnotiq or the Roc-a-fella Records distributed Armadale vodka). The company subsequently introduced a "Formula 50" flavor of vitaminwater, which was developed by the artist and refers to him on its label.

2. While marketed as an enhanced, health-promoting water, nutrition experts question whether vitaminwater beverages are indeed healthful (Day 2002, Somers 2006). Depending on the variety, each 20 fl. oz. bottle contains 100 to 125 calories and from 20 to 32.5 grams of sugar[1], while pure water contains no sugar or calories. On the other hand, a 20 fl. oz. bottle of Coca-Cola contains 240 calories and 68 grams of sugar and, like plain water, contains no vitamins of any kind[2]. Vitaminwater Nutrition labels are based on 2.5 servings per bottle rather then 1, giving the false appearance that there is less sugar than actually exists. However 8 ounce servings are fairly standard for 20 ounce soda containers as well.

3. On April 18, 2007, the National Football League fined Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher $100,000 for wearing a vitaminwater cap and drinking vitaminwater during media day for Super Bowl XLI, on account that Energy Brands, Inc. is not an official NFL sponsor.[6]

I can't wait to try it!

KJ said...

It's definitely taking over the world. The company also makes SmartWater -- electrolyte-enhanced water -- that we keep in stock in Jacksonland. I'm brimming with potassium.

jal said...

I may have to give up bananas in favor of water. Odd.

EPB said...

Vitamin water needs to add some carbination to their line to get me away from my Diet Coke addiction. Although I really like the VW its that mental block of no carbination that keeps it from being 100% refreshing for me. Also, it doesn't go as well with Cool Ranch Dorito's if you are REALLY hung over. Not that I use that remedy any more. LOL!

Pam said...

I have to agree with JAL about the "healthiness" of Vitamin Water - I personally would rather guzzle regular plain old water and not have to worry about the extra calories and pop a multi vitamin every morning.

I remember when fat free frozen yogurt was all the rage and I was working in the city. Me and my coworkers ate "Skinny Delite" everyday. We eventually learned that our afternoon treat wasn't really fat free, nor was low in calories...

If it seems too good to be true.......

KJ said...

Strange enough, this post was supposed to be about the misuse of Irish Spring soap on the Revive fruit punch label, not an endorsement or indictment of VW.

As usual, we're off on our tangents, unfocused. A round of VWaters for all! I'm going to spike mine with Vodka later.

Auntie said...

How timely! I had never really bought into the whole Vitamin Water thing prior to our trip to Bermuda. Of course, I had never actually tasted one so my opinion was based solely on the fact that I didn't want to pay extra for what I suspected was high priced colored water. However, Keith came back with a couple of them one day when he went down to get us some snacks at the hotel and I've been hooked ever since. I am also a big fan of "Revive". On a side note, not sure if it's prego related but I also can't stop eating popsicles. Not the fancy kind, just old school "Popsicle" brand in orange, grape & cherry. I'm eating one right now.

lpd said...

Don't forget, KJ, you're not fully clean unless your ZEST-fully clean.

I used to beg my mother to buy Irish Spring b/c I wanted to see what really happened when you cut it open with a pocket knife -- would it have those marbled layers of refreshment inside, like they show on the commercial? Would it? I never found out. My mother was loyal to gold Dial.

Milt via Cameo said...

I will channel Milt here and say, "What the h*ll is wrong with good ol' fashioned water and multi-vitamins?" VW seems like a big marketing ploy to me.

Code Red said...

The Irish Spring commercials had me convinced for years that Irish people bathed outside in the bushes.

I've never tried the Vitamin water, but now I'm going to have to get me some and see what I'm missing.

jal said...

Having never tried it either I'll meet you at the convenience store, Code Red.

Anonymous said...

hate to disappoint you but Coca Cola just bought Glaceau.