Avoiding Death by Drinking Bottled Water?

By Leili Najmabadi

Many bottled water companies can attribute their success to strategic advertisements based on the psychological fear of death. The University of Waterloo recently conducted a study revealing that this fear controls the consumer’s perception that bottled water is safer or purer than regular tap water. By using the Terror Management Theory in social psychology, researchers can understand that behaviors related to financial security and consumption choices are dependent on the repression of the conscious or unconscious fear of death. The water messaging of both bottled water and anti-bottled water campaigns were analyzed, and bottled water advertisements take advantage of celebrities and positive self-image sentiments. These aspects are attractive to those who find value in physical fitness and images of status and wealth. The citizens of Canada have been especially susceptible to an increased consumption of bottled water, with this year’s estimate of approximately three billion liters. These three billion liters would be worth CAD $3.3 billion. Moving forward, if public and non-governmental organizations wish to increase popularity in more eco-friendly water options, they must consider adopting similar marketing tactics to bottled water companies. 


University of Waterloo. (2018, February 1). Bottled water sales fueled by desire for immortality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 7, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180201085749.htm