Why Do Minorities Trust Bottled Water Over Tap?
What people of color know about water that others don't
Are black and Latino consumers getting duped into buying bottled water, believing that the quality is superior to the free water that comes out of their tap? Or do they just know better, based off their understanding of their government?
According to this article from Forbes magazine, “Why Minorities Reach for Bottled Water Over Tap & How Marketers Persuade Them,” studies have shown that more families of color prefer priced waters like Dasani and Aquafina than do white families. They cite one study from the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine that finds black and Latino parents are more likely to give their children bottled water than are white parents.
Despite the fact that tap water in general is healthier and cleaner, providing flouride boosts for children that private company-sold water doesn’t, minority parents just can’t seem to avoid getting duped into buying the bottled brands.
The Pediatric Adolescent Medicine study purports to know why minorities fall for the bottled water myth, mostly attributing it to marketing. Forbes identifies four marketing strategies companies use to target people of color, including direct advertising to Latino populations, “minority moms,” celebrity endorsements (the use of TLC’s Chilli for Dasani is given as an example), and marketing “purity” -- even though chemicals are found in much of the water that’s sold on store shelves.
But surely that can’t be all there is to it, unless we believe that minorities are just not smart enough to understand savvy marketing when they see it.
One reason many black and Latino families choose not to trust their tap water might have to do with the fact that in some minority neighborhoods, the water is actually pretty crappy. If I lived in Washington, D.C., I would be particularly suspicious of lead in the water. And if I lived by a hospital -- especially an aging, understaffed, underfunded hospital in a city with aging infrastructure -- I would be concerned about the dumping and flushing of drugs and medicine into the water supply.
Minorities are not dumb, and are no more susceptible to advertising than any other people. If Congress would allow more funds to go toward America’s aging water infrastructure, then minorities wouldn’t feel pressured to look to Coca-Cola for their water supply.