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December 19, 2007


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» Insightful Packaging: Vitaminwater from Insight Buzz
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! Too much package copy these days is either lists of self-serious product benefits, or smarmy, emotional puffery. Maybe by taking a brand a little less seriously, marke... [Read More]

» Copywriting Blog from My Freelance Copywriting Blog
Was up early this morning with coffee in hand poking around the 'Net (and NO, not those type sites!). I was searching specifically for copywriting related material. I wasn't previously aware of this but author (The New Rules of Marketing [Read More]


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Tatiana Tugbaeva

I like reading those labels myself. But I'm not sure if this kind of product packaging will be as effective for an older target market. Do you know of any other products that target different markets and use similar packaging strategy?


I think those essays really work because now I am craving vitaminwater even though it tastes like Crystal Light!

This reminds me of the most awesome instance of packaging text. Three years ago, my friends and I got some bags of potato chips for a long road trip (we were moving from Chicago to New York). I discovered that each bag had a story with a moral message written on it. Even though the stories were very corny and preachy, we read each one over and over! And even though the chips were unremarkable, I scanned every convenience store in New York for that brand so I could read more stories! I wish I could remember the name of the brand (Uncle Something???, I think).

Remember how Snapple used to have weird trivia under each cap?

Peter Renton

Product packaging is so important these days in the ultra-competitive retail space. It is surprising to me that few companies really leverage their product label like Vitaminwater is doing. With today's digital label printing (the focus of my blog) it is very easy to come out with more interesting product labels. In fact if you had lots of great content, every label could be different. Now that might be a great conversation starter...


I actually buy a bottle every morning, along with a USA Today newspaper, at a local shop.

I'm embarrassed to say, I've never read the labels...til now !

Thanks for outin' them David.

Robert French

Fun copywriting for a niche audience. I agree.

Sadly, the technical knowledge of the company seems a bit lacking. Look at how their company appears in Google search:

Javascript and Flash 8 are required to view this site.
www.glaceau.com/ - 3k

So, "Javascript" and "Flash 8" are key terms for a vitamin water company?

Not to worry, they are #1 in results for "vitamin water", too. But, you'd think they'd want a better description for their product in search. After all, for their key audience, search is likely the primary path for researching new products.


Guess you guys don't get innocent drinks over there (brand name: http://innocentdrinks.co.uk/) which takes a similar tack. There is a different little quip on each label, and the same 'feel' is on their website (check some of the questions in the FAQ).

David Meerman Scott

Thank you all for your comments.

Robert, you're absolutely right about their site. It's terrible. Because it's written in flash, the search engines don't see it. Silly...

Cheers, David

Kris Rzepkowski

So here's a display of how social media is helping to market a product. I would never have tried vitaminwater until I read this post. What a coup for Glaceau.

My local indoor volleyball hangout has this stuff in a glass case right next to the Red Bull. The bottles look like they belong in a medicine chest. They may have Shakespeare written on the label (which I didn't know until now), but from afar I always mistook it as Surgeon General warnings. If the product tastes like cough syrup, then it will certainly meet my expectations.

Another example of the use of clever copy and bad design for success is the shopping site Woot! They motivate you to buy "Bags of Crap" and second hand electronics with some of the most spellbinding copy I've seen.

Pete Brand

I found it interesting that some of the copy was geared towards the buyer persona of drinkers. You pointed out in your book "The New Rules of Marketing and PR" about how Gatorade could cater to that persona but obviously didn't. I wonder if these people read your book and decided on that niche. :) Thanks for passing it along.

Oritseyemi  Emmanuel Madamedon

Your books sold thousands of copies! May be these guys somehow never come across your books. Someone should send them a copy of each of your books most especially cashing in with content.
2. I still wonder why these companies still think the heavy usage of flash is what they need to sell or reach their audience with easy.
I don't claim to be an expert but I like the way the labelling on philosophy products are written http://www.philosophy.com/web/store/prod_cinnamon-buns-shower-gel____36581_24506_25507 (No affiliation.)Words like yummy,etc

What do you think?

Shama Hyder

When it comes to mass-produced products, most companies don't think the writing matters. But in a world where competition gets tougher by the minute, every aspect counts!

Sergey Rusak

Vitamin Water has a choice:
a) to create GatorAde / PowerAde alike design.
b) to create something new.

I guess if they choose A... they will fail.

Chad Ludeman

Great reference to woot.com. Fantastic writing!

I love VitaminWater and have been enjoying their labels and liquids for years. In my opinion they have succeeded by creating a new section of the market with a fantastic brand name that captures that market. Gatorade came out with Propel around the same time if not earlier and it does not compare to what VitaminWater has done marketing wise.

While I normally agree that poor websites are a sign of lousy marketing, I'm not sure how important the web is for their product. I research everything on the web but have never looked up any beverage product before buying. I have not been to their site and probably never will, but will drink their product for years. I was hooked on the product when a big VitaminWater truck pulled up to a weekend sporting event I was participating in with over 2,000 young, Philadelphia athletes. Everyone was grateful and loved the product that was being marketed directly to us. Imagine how much word of mouth that got them and that was only one event! Their product placement, distribution and delivery trucks are equally impressive. While I love the web, sometimes it might not be the #1 avenue for certain products.

Lastly, how old do you have to be to not enjoy this type of writing?

Laurent Pacalin


Thank you for this great post regarding Glaceau. I do agree that self-deprecating humor and plain english are refreshing ways to create an image. What's a bit strange about the beverage is the name itself: Glace-Eau. The litteral translation from french means ice water. How exciting is that?


It's a French portmanteau!! Doubly French! I love portmanteaux.

I also love the label of Smartwater, also made by Glaceau. It looks like a goldfish is in the bottle. And the goldfish is saying "spring water is for swimming, Smartwater is for drinking!"

ian alexander


By sheer coincidence I just wrote about Vitamin Water last week. (Or perhaps is their marketing working?) Either way - I see your point about the Vitamin Water's balance of utility vs. the neat messaging but many brands do the same thing. Some very successfully. Regarding the informative messages, there isn't much to say - your thirsty and dehydrated and you drink. However, I do agree that the flash tool is nifty yet silly. Ok, more silly.


Just noticed this too. "stick it in the fridge" is actually a G. Love and Special Sauce lyric from the song "Cold Beverage"


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