Ludicrously expensive bottled water for rich morons

Forbes Traveler has a rundown on costly bottled water, such as Berg, made from ice-age Arctic icebergs, and Bling, which comes in a bottle emblazoned with fake diamonds. I don't know which more obviously brands you a fool: being seen with a bottle of Bling, or sporting a forehead tattoo.

bling-water.jpgInitially introduced only to "hand-selected athletes and actors," Bling H2O is now available to the rest of us mere mortals. It has made appearances at the MTV Music Video and Emmy awards, but did anyone tell the celebs the water comes from Dandridge, Tennessee? Never mind, the point in this case is not what's in the bottle as it is what's on it: Swarovski crystals spelling out "bling." The frosted glass bottle is labeled "Limited Edition Spring Water" and is sealed with a cork.

You can buy Bling H2O in bottles without crystals, but why would you? $441 per case of 12 bottles (750ml)

Per 750ml bottle: $36.75

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  1. Swarovski crystals on the bottles? Sheeeeeeit. That’s ridiculously ostentatious.I hope they stick them on with easy-peel glue.

  2. They’re paying for cachet as well as water, which makes them less moronic than the buyers of Evian et al, who are just buying water.

  3. It is really any more “stupid” than people who drink bottled water to begin with or the morons who pay ridiculous prices for organic food?

  4. I know an erudite gentleman with a forehead tattoo, so my vote on the fool-branding is for the bottled water.

  5. Ill stick with my $3.50, 24 bottle, 1 liter case from Walmart thanks.

    Ive worked in the hospitality industry for awhile and BS like this rolls around occasionally (this particular deal is a couple years old). Its the peak of a empty niche market that you just want to vigorously shake your head. How trite it is, and not to mention the lost souls with money to burn (or think they have) that sucker into it. 40k’year’illionaries, get on it!

  6. ah hee hee heh! Oh the water follies. Was involved in that trade once, learned all about nominal and absolute filters, bottling line hygiene, import/export restrictions, hydrology reports….
    One of the funnier stories was when a major Japanese food label had to publish newspaper apologies when their “glacial source” turned out to be some guys basement tap. Or when the cargo containers full of bottles all had mold floaters after a month and a half a sea and tropical dock… A real laugh was the North American bottling line that kept scrupulous control over every aspect -except the dirty pawed guy hauling the caps out of the boxes.

    Yah, conspicuous consumption will always be with us.
    There is just something about the monkey within that demands we spoil the extra bananas after we are full and insists it be done in view of the smaller, hungrier chimps.

  7. Kudos to the marketing geniuses that came up with this product. They were probably watching an episode of “Cribs” and realized that people in the sports and entertainment industry will buy anything to boost their “player” image. It will almost certainly be stocked in VIP lounges in Las Vegas and L.A. I’m willing to bet that K-Fed has a case of this water in his fridge.

  8. I pissed in a Mountain Dew bottle the other day and then realized it could be called “Mountain Piss” and sold to rich idiots if you put some crappy marketing text on the side of the bottle that says something like “Mountain Piss water has been proven to reduce signs of aging. Drink up and look 10 years younger.”

    It’s true: people will buy anything.

  9. #9

    apart from certain current “connoisseurs”, Chinese mandarins used baby urine for tooth cleaning – the ancient Romans favoured “Spaniard Piss”. Sort of in keeping with the Ankh-Morporkian belief about their river water that “anything filtered through so many kidneys must be pure”

  10. I live in Vancouver, so buying water has always struck me as insane.

    Though this stuff still has nothing on Noka.

  11. From the article:

    “Bottled water is now making the transition from being considered a commodity to being considered a natural product with its own origin.”

    Wait a minute…water isn’t natural now? charging, upwards of $100 makes it natural, apparently. Who thinks like that, honestly? Pollute all the public sources, and you can sell the private, non-polluted sources for a mint. You win. Wait until the pollution gives us superpowers. Then they’ll be sorry.

    Maybe soon we can buy the bottled blood of pagan infants to make us look younger, too.

  12. That’s why I say if you want to launch a product, do it in New York, Los Angeles, or Tokyo. They’ll buy anything once.

  13. Okay up until this point I have considered bottled water to be a ridiculous product that serves only to destroy the environment and steal money from unsuspecting suckers. Now, however, I am going to throw out my water filter, purchase Bling by the case and serve it exclusively to my trendsetting dog.

  14. i work for the swarovski design company that made that logo. the things people do with swarovski stones… boy, do i have stories.

  15. @SCOTTFREE – “Pollute all the public sources, and you can sell the private, non-polluted sources for a mint.”

    Actually, what they generally do is just bottle the same public sources and sell that for a mint. They claim, of course, that they’re applying sufficient extra filtering and whatnot to justify the premium. It’s really the same water, though. In some cases wells driven into the same local aquifer, and in some cases basically the same tapwater.

    A (nonlocal) company operating around here wants to pull 400,000 gallons of day out of the aquifer that all the local towns pull from. The State signed off on it, on apparently not very much measurement or other research, but there have been strenuous local objections (of course). I don’t see why; if the local source becomes unusable, we can just import bottled water from somewhere else. /sarcasm.

    Maybe if they could get $36 a bottle, they wouldn’t have to draw so much of it.

  16. well L’elk! (is that a Bushman glottal !click!?)
    dish already. tell us about the bizarre piercings/implants.

  17. I hope it has extra fluoride, so the suckers can has extra brain damages and bone loss to go along with their status water.

  18. Who cares? If people like water enough that they want to drop that cash, why do people get so freaked out? Some do taste different because of the origins and some are indeed just tap water. Maybe melted Everest snow or volcanic run off is fun for someone.

    If you say you NEVER taste the difference between waters then consider it may be possible that others actually can and enjoy the experience of drinking it. Some folks think the only difference between Bud and and microbrew is the price. Maybe your lucky if that’s how your tastebuds. Sometimes a cheap whiskey does actually kick the ass of a $50 bottle. Does that mean all $50 bottles are stupid?

    Me, I’ve given up bottle water due to the packaging waste.

  19. Alternatively, the ludicrously rich could buy a $20 bottle of water from Charity Water [charitywater.org] and provide clean drinking water for a needy individual for the next twenty years.

  20. @ #12, Daemon –

    “Noka Chocolates Take Two” was exactly the thought I had when I read this bit. The (allegedly) high quality product may justify some level of premium price, but mostly you’re paying for the packaging and the bullshit “aura” of luxury. Anyone who actually buys either product deserves public shaming and ridicule.

    And the fact that are (presumably multiple) “Swarovski crystal design firms” just blows my mind . . .

  21. I say we buy up all the bottles we can (for me, it’ll be ~3) and send them to places where they have drought. The poor and the parched need “cachet” too!

  22. Wired had a great article about this (though I’m failing to find it on their site ATM). Did you know you can buy pre-packaged ice cubes, too? Just freeze ’em, and you’ve got super-expensive frozen snobbery!

  23. I love the basic business model of separating stupid rich people from their money, whether it’s water or Hummers.
    Note to self: Get the bottled air business started asap!
    Additional note to self: Trip to Norweigen fjords to collect pure air stock, Business Expense?

  24. I work near where this is bottled. I regularly eat lunch outside at this deli nearby. I always get the English Mountain Spring Water to drink. It’s bottled in… Dandridge TN. I was eating outside one day and the water delivery guys were out there eating too after just having delivered the water for the day. They were talking about the Bling water.

    If I recall correctly, it was the exact same stuff that I was drinking under the different, more expensive label. I feel so fancy now. Superstar!

  25. Cue this clip from Penn and Teller’s Bullshit about bottled water:

    They stuck a fake “water steward” in a restaurant, and he was going up to people with this fake “water menu” and letting people try different types of bottled water. But they were all filled from a hose in the back.

  26. L’Elk @16, do go on. We’d love to hear about it.

    Crunchbird @24, why does it blow you away that there are specialized Swarovski crystal design firms? It’s a technically demanding decorative medium. And if you really want something to catch the light, Swarovski crystals are one of the better ways to do it.

    BionicRat @20, of course you can taste the different flavors in water. I can still remember the cold, heavily mineralized water from my grandparents’ well, before they went on city water. It was delicious. In some places I have to put a few grains of salt in my water just to give it some taste. New York City water is pretty good, so I only drink bottled water for convenience.

  27. Okay, “blow me away” was clearly too strong, but I’ve always just thought of these crystals as an ingredient … one of many constituent materials that a crafter or jeweler or clothing designer would use in their work. I knew that there were companies out there encrusing them onto all sorts of things in amusing and (sometimes) aesthetically pleasing patterns, I just never considered them as “design firms,” or thought there might be other consulting firms out there exclusively focused on how to work in the Swarovski medium at a more abstract level. Given that Swarovski itself seems to offer that sort of service (the Crystallized.com link you included), it seems like a pretty narrow niche to build your business in.

  28. it seems like a pretty narrow niche to build your business in.

    Did you miss the post about porn with girls squirting milk out their butts? Niche is the new mass market.

  29. Yadda yadda, I can get bottled water cheaper at Wal-Mart or Target, yadda yadda yadda.

    $441 isn’t nearly as much as it used to be, and you guys are getting repetitive. So some of you can’t afford it? Noted. We all have stuff we can’t afford, but no one forces us to go on and on about it.

    The selection of Arctic Ice, frosted glass bottles, and fake diamonds puts the bottled water firmly in the category of art beverage. The price is not unreasonable.

    If you insist Wal-Mart prices, you wind up living in the world Wal-Mart makes. That Bling H2O water is an artifact from the other universe, the one we like a lot better; and it’s a damned good beverage.

  30. Was readin Around the World in Eighty Days, published in 1873, on the way home this evening when I came across this line:

    “…his beverages were refreshingly cooled with ice, brought at great cost from the American lakes.”

    So apparently its nothing new.

    and Mr. fancy pants, Kashmir, share the wealth eh?

  31. well, now, Mr. Kong. Your position is ,how shall I put this? – hysterical? – in light of your previously expressed opinions vis a vis BoingBoing advertising policy

  32. Foreshadowing of the post-energy-crisis crisis when water rates are up to $40 a bottle and we’re at war with Scandinavia?

  33. #35

    From “Holy Fire” by Bruce Sterling (1996), which takes place at the end of the 21st Century:

    “Antarctic glacier water,” offered the crab. “A deep core from Pleistocene deposits. Entirely unpolluted, undisturbed since the dawn of humanity. Profoundly pure.”
    “What a delightful conceit,” said Novak…
    “We have lunar water,” said the crab. “Very interesting isotopic properties.”
    “Did you ever drink water from the Moon, my dear?” Novak asked her.
    Maya shook her head.
    “We’ll have the lunar water,” Novak ordered.
    A second crab arrived with a vacuum-sealed vial. Using shining forceps, it dropped two dainty cubes of smoking blue ice into a pair of brandy glasses.

  34. The BBC ran an interesting show about bottled waters, their target for ‘Added Value’ bottles was ‘Fiji Water’ The following page explains the some of the ethics etc behind this trade.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/7247130.stm

    Also, for BB’s UK readers I would like to suggest Belu water if you must have bottled water. It’s carbon neutral,has a compostable bottle (made from corn – nice geeky explaination on their site), and all the profits go to Wateraid.

    http://www.belu.org/

  35. The selection of Arctic Ice, frosted glass bottles, and fake diamonds puts the bottled water firmly in the category of art beverage.

    Okay, I’m not really willing to check every one of the links that comes up for the phrase “art beverage”, but from going through the first dozen or so pages it looks like you may actually be the first one to proclaim the existence of this category. Congratulations!

    I guess one interesting side effect of the outrageous expense of the bottles is that you’d feel EXTREMELY guilty throwing them away or tossing them in the recycling bin. As a result they’d probably be far more likely to be repeatedly reused than your average plastic or glass water bottle.

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