The relationship between what is considered natural and what is not is a complex one. As a culture, authenticity and naturalness are clearly highly important values. We can see examples of this in how we act and in our consumption habits. Furthermore, we have many beliefs and understandings about the origins of “natural”, and what makes something fit that criteria.
It is only natural that a company takes advantage of these desires and beliefs, and uses it as a selling-point in their advertising campaigns. And with that, we see Fiji Water.
This might appear to be a seemingly innocent advertisement, simply illustrating the process in which Fiji water is delivered. And it might even be just that. However, it is still guilty of some of Terrachoice’s “Seven Sins of Greenwashing”. Greenwashing is a term used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.
Among the seven sins is the sin of “vagueness”. In this advertisement, Fiji provides a dramatic portrayal into how the water reaches their source. They provide various backdrops and buzzwords. However, they remain vague about how the water is extracted from that source, and all of the other complications and actions involved.
As mentioned previously, we have culturally established notions about what “natural” is supposed to look like. Fiji takes full advantage of this, and as a result, become guilty of the sin “worshiping false idols”. In this, they give the impression of “green” by including a backdrop of a lush green landscape that harbors waterfalls, rainforests, and artesian wells. The details stop there, giving the audience little to no real substance.
Lastly, but certainly not least, they are guilty of the sin of “irrelevance”. As I mentioned above, they describe the process in which water reaches the source. While it is played to soothing music and a green backdrop, it fails to tell us anything of relevance, as much of what they show has little effect on the actual quality of the water they sell us. Perhaps the only redeeming quality of this is that it is true their water comes from Fiji.