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Vitamin Water 10 Ad Goes Too Far

Posted by: David Kiley on April 20, 2009

I hate to sound so earnest. But when I saw this ad, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated as a parent, and disgusted as a former ad agency executive.

This as for Vitamin Water 10 shows Mother Nature as CEO of a water company. While the use of talking critters is mildly entertaining, if a bit tired, my complaint is the message of the ad that Vitamin Water 10 is giving nature’s water a run for its money.

My frustration as a parent comes from the glee I experience, albeit to myself, when my seven-year old son happily opts for water instead of juice or soda about 90% of the time he is offered a beverage.

These kids are magnets for advertising, and it frustrates me to have such a good thing we have going undermined by such a lame and overdone message. Vitamin Water ought not to compete with water in anyone’s mind or commercial. At best (and I do drink the stuff), it’s a substitute for bottled tea, soda, Gatorade and the like.

I’m going to get all European here and suggest there should be a handful of stronger regs on soft drink advertising. And one of them is that you can never suggest that you are a better option than water.

Reader Comments


April 22, 2009 1:07 AM

How about you be a parent and teach your kid something, and let the advertising say what it does. It is your job to raise your child not societies.

From Kiley: I agree with you. I teach my kid all the time. But I get frustrated when advertising goes, in my opinion, too far sometimes in undermining my work.

Brian Remite

April 22, 2009 6:01 AM

Wow, seriously? I understand your right as a parent to want what is best for your kids, but of all the commercials, or for that matter, all the messages being put forth to kids in general today, you waste an article trashing what in my opinion is very clever advertising? Come on now, come back to reality. Focus your energy on the beer commercials that litter the airwaves and the proliferation of sex and violence in advertising, not on a company trying to sell water.

From Kiley: It isn't a company trying to sell water. It's a company selling a soft-drink advertising that it rivals water.


April 22, 2009 1:12 PM

I totally agree that kids shouldn't be drinking Vitamin Water. I also think that there are plenty of overweight people who are getting the wrong message here.
Either way, you can't fault Vitamin Water. They have a new product that they want you to drink instead of water. They're a company and it's a rough world out there right now. They're doing what they need to do to compete and the commercial does a really good job.
What about pharma ads? They're causing way more damage than vitamin water ever could.


April 22, 2009 2:01 PM have *way* too much time on your hands, if you're worried that much about this ad. I thought they were pretty damned funny myself.
Do you also eat all 3 meals a day at McDonald's and then want to sue them for making you obese?
Do you turn your kids loose on their own computer, and then whine about all the bad things on the Internet?
Did you sign a petition for the V-Chip, because instead of taking the TV out of your kid's room and paying attention to what they're watching, you'd rather leave it in there to shut them up?

Good call, Bro! Keep fighting 'City Hall'!


April 22, 2009 3:33 PM

I'm with David on this. Study after study has found a close link between TV advertising and junk food consumption by children, particularly soda. And soda is the biggest source of empty calories out there. Check out this study from Yale's Rudd Center for Nutrition on the evils of soda:

It should be banned


April 22, 2009 4:26 PM

wat awwp .........u like drag...row row row your joint...twist it at they end take a puff now thats enought pass it to a friend or im so meeh at da bridge during 5th period on


April 22, 2009 4:26 PM

wat awwp .........u like drag...row row row your joint...twist it at they end take a puff now thats enought pass it to a friend or im so meeh at da bridge during 5th period on im not GAY!


April 22, 2009 7:23 PM

didn't like my post? :)


April 22, 2009 8:50 PM

I guess I can see your point of view a little, however, I actually love the commercials and think they are refreshing (no pun intended) in comparison to other commercials that are out there. And to be honest, I'm not really sure that I even think they are dissing real water, only making fun of themselves, and again, is it really that bad for kids to get excited about a nutrious drink? I mean, it could be Pepsi or Dr. Pepper, at least it's a water product. Lastly, as an African American woman who has worked in corporate and administrative jobs, I think that the woman who plays "mother nature" is quite funny, and makes the situation seem realistic because I can actually see someone like her responding in that way. Most commercials nowadays absolutely have nothing to do with the product anyway, so I think the likeliehood of kids coming away with a negative impression of water is very low. But that's just my opinion.

Kynisha Mercadal

April 22, 2009 9:53 PM

I think this is a cute little commercial. If I had kids, I don't think I would care about the content. After all, it is a business and they are trying to make money. If you are that concerned, just explain to your child yourself why water is better for him/her than any other (including this) drink. Children are exposed to worse things than this each day.

mr lan

April 22, 2009 10:53 PM

I'm sure you're a very smart guy...and I agree that everyone should drink water 9/10 times, but are in outer space with this one.

I guess your main point is not that they're advertising a soft drink, but that they are positioning it as an alternative to water.
#1 that premise is clearly tongue in cheek. #2 I don't think any kid old enough to understand the commercial (and not just see funny talking animals) doesn't understand that it's meant to be funny. #3 this stuff basically IS water.

Best of luck, your son sounds like he's on the right track...good job!


April 23, 2009 11:23 PM

If I were a parent, I would be less concerned about my child being corrupted by advertising that encourages a ten calorie drink over a zero calorie drink, and more concerned about the "glamourous" life of sex, drugs, and alcohol presented in a majority of youth television programs. Pick and choose your battles wisely.


April 26, 2009 11:21 AM

Are you really serious??? First of all, Vitamin Water is not a soft-drink... it's regular flavored water with some sugar. I'd say it is closer to water than a soda. Wow, have you ever let your kid drink Mountain Dew or Orange Crush?? Those bad boys pack about 80 grams of sugar into a 20 oz bottle. So basically, I'd rather have my kid drink vitamin water all day compared to Mountain Dew, Coke, etc... even diet, because that stuff is just as bad for you. Ok, so I would rather have my kid drink regular water than Vitamin Water, but it isnt a big deal to drink the stuff. I grew up as a kid drinking a couple of cans of soda every freaking day and I'm fine. I drink a 20 oz vitamin water every day, and I'm fine. Humans need sugars and calories, it is a fact. If you don't want your kid to drink the stuff, then don't buy it, but when you tell him he can't have it, he's going to end up wanting it even more!


April 27, 2009 7:52 PM

I'm with David. Just more humor from 25 year old copywriters who are trying to out funny the next brand. Yeah it's funny but kids don't always know. Not until I became a parent did I see advertissing through a different lense... the onslaught of violence, sex and the plain deception. Yeah its funny, but the science of it is not. I am sure most of the respondents don't have children, huh:)

It is purely an extension of all the other crap that I am tired of ...all the CSI and 'Hostel' type movie trailers that air during what the NFL says is family entertainment.


April 30, 2009 6:36 PM

this must be a joke. i personally love this commercial. i think it's so funny and the actress playing mother nature was perfect, very convincing. please mr. kiley there are worst thing out there to fight against i can name a few hundred but do not have the enery( i think i'll go get a bottle of vitamin water).but try nudity on television, violence in video games, illegal guns,don't even get me started on the internet,fast food chains and so on and so forth. please stop the joke april fools day was last moth or is this punked.


May 1, 2009 4:36 PM

This is a great, funny commercial. Appreciate it for what it is and stop overthinking it. It is for entertainment. Laugh a little.

Alicia Zambri

May 2, 2009 6:20 PM

If your kids are mindless enough to watch a cute commercial like this and be brainwashed into wanting Vitamin Water every day, then the commercial isn't the problem, it's the parents. Perhaps you need to pay more attention to your kids and less to commercials that are clever enough to actually get people's attention.

Besides, unless your 7-year-old has a job, I wouldn't worry about him getting his hands on this stuff anyway.


May 3, 2009 9:56 PM

GREAT AD!! I'll be buying some, just as the the desired outcome hoped for!


May 4, 2009 11:06 PM

HAHA!!! You are so uptight! I bet you are just not use to healthy foods that don't make you fat!


May 14, 2009 1:00 AM

dude, my tee-vee has this little button called "off" I bet your's does too. Oh and here's a little secret, you don't have to buy everything advertised on the tee-vee, really, I've tried it and it works.

Flavored Water

May 17, 2009 2:51 PM

I am always looking for some good site of flavored water. this is a good site where i have

found some good knowledge of flavored water. i would like to tell my friends about this


I also found a site .Here I found a lot of important quotes of

flavored water. You may also take round to the site.

Burt Helm

May 22, 2009 2:01 PM

If you didn't like that ad, Mr. Kiley, then you certainly will hate this one:

Flavored Water

May 25, 2009 11:32 AM

Thanks for the wonderful read. Flavored water is definitely a more healthy option than soda or other syrupy drinks! Some other tips for improving your hydration include:
* Eat foods with high water content. Slice them and take them to work. Serve them with meals. Good choices include apples, watermelon, celery, tomatoes, lettuce, oranges and melons.
* Drink what you enjoy, as long as the sugar and caloric intake is low. Look for 10-20 calories per serving, and definitely don’t make it your only beverage consumption. Make sure you get dairy in, too.
* At restaurants, choose water instead of other beverages. An added bonus to doing this if you have children is that you’ll be serving as a role model for making healthy choices.
All the best!


June 11, 2009 12:54 AM

Actually, vitaman water 10 isn't all that bad for you. 20 calories and 6 grams of sugar for the entire 16 oz. bottle trumps any sort of soda and isn't even in the same league as a Gatorade or Powerade which is pretty much soda for all intrinsic purposes.


June 24, 2009 9:45 PM

You know what is funny? I was told tonight when i was buying this vitamin water that the ad was really funny. In googling the ad, i found all of the responses that i just read from people. WOW. Are you kidding me? A woman states her mind and practically gets chastised for it! Although the commercial is probably clever at best, she is my opinion. In reading people's responses (some saying that Kiley, the original one who posted the aggrivated blog about the vitamin water, should have better things to do with her time). Lol. Lol even harder. Who are you then to take YOUR time to respond back to her? Dont YOU have anything better to do with YOUR time? I simply came on for a potential laugh, but sometimes things strike you and you feel the need to speak up as Kiley did, and as i am now. I am a single 28 year old female who has no children and not ties. But let me tell you, if i did, i could identify with Kiley's frustration with the ad for TWO reasons. GOD created natural water and MAN created all of these "substitutes". For "man" to say that his water enhanced with who knows what is better than natural water from the spring is like saying their way is better than The Lord God. Drastic i know, but true. And yes, it is a parents responsibility to teach them and guide them but hello???!!!??? That is partially why society is the way it is!!! Due to ADVERTISING!!! Whether it be beer, pornographic images or vitamin water, it POLLUTES peoples minds...especially the youth and innocent and nieve. Someone commented on here that Kiley should be focusing on beer and sex commercials etc and not trivial vitamin water commercials. Lol. Sex, drugs and rock and roll will probablly never die. We constantly have to teach children the consequences of these things, thats a given. But vitamin water? Is is actually sad that we have to worry about such ads...EVEN in vitamin water.


July 3, 2009 7:38 PM

As a registered and licensed dietitian, I agree that water is the best choice-and you've done a great job with your child with respect to the fact that 90% of the time he chooses water. However, you must realize that you are not the norm.

I can tell you that I'd recommend Vitaminwater10 vs. a sugary soda any day of the week. I also have to respectfully disagree with you that Vitamin Water 10 is " At best... it’s a substitute for bottled tea, soda, Gatorade and the like."

Vitaminwater10 has only 10 calories per 8 ounce serving, uses natural sweeteners and offers nutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin a, magnesium, zinc, etc. Not to mention its sodium free. You won't find that in bottle tea, soda, Gatorade and the like.

I agree that we are all teachers for our children every day...if commercial advertising is a concern, turn off the TV, get off the couch/computer get some fresh air and exercise--that is what is needed to improve the health of American children (and adults) today. Study after study has proven this fact.


August 17, 2009 1:06 AM

From a CURrENT ad agency exec...this reviewer shows why she is a FORMER ad agency executive. What a ridiculous commentary.

Not only does she have no clue, she is completely incapable of separating her own biases from the objective proposition at hand (not an asset when you work in the agency business.)

More importantly, the "natural" message of this ad is not targeted for children, it's targeted at adults. And it has NOTHING to do with positioning the product relative to natural water, but - to her one salient point - it's a naturally sweetened, low-calorie product. A better alternative to soft drinks? DUH!

God forbid if Vitamin Water, free of government regulation, DARES to try and sell a sweetened drink that's actually a healthier and more natural product than everything on the market OTHER than water?

I'm so happy she's overjoyed her little boy decides to drink water (having a child is such a miracle!) Now let the rest of the world live, eat, drink, and be merry in peace - and have the freedom to make their own decisions, too.


September 16, 2009 9:22 PM

a lot of the commenters here seem to think Vitamin Water is healthy, nutritious, or at worse, not as bad as soda. that simply isn't true, particularly now that they (and by they i mean coca-cola, who purchased vitamin water over a year ago) have released Vitamin Water 10, a product that feigns to be better for you than the overly-sugared original Vitamin Water. please take a look at this informative blog, which explains in far better terms than i could here in this comment, how terribly unhealthy and awful this stuff really is:

Denver Mom

October 29, 2009 11:21 AM

Seriously people. Take responsibility for your own actions and for the actions of your children. It's not anyone else's responsiblity.

Guess how many times my child has had soda, fast food, etc. - Zero. Why? Because I do not allow it regardless of what advertising shows.

The village is not responsible for my child - I am. And I want to keep it that way.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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