Anyone wanting to look younger and feel better attending the Car Free Day festival in Vancouver, Canada, had the opportunity to buy a new, odd elixir touting several health benefits. For a mere $28 ($38 CAD), visitors to the event could purchase bottled Hot Dog Water. The unusual beverage promised drinkers relief from inflammation, improvement of cognitive function, help with weight loss, and a more youthful appearance.
According to a Bustle report, Hot Dog Water comes nicely packaged in a glass bottle with one hot dog inside. Other processed meat products available at the company’s booth included Hot Dog Water lip balm, breath spray, and body fragrance.
While the drink sounds promising, many wonder if Hot Dog Water really lives up to its claims.
“There’s a fair bit of it that is too science-y for me, but from what I understand from the specialists here working on it, it’s this idea of like-likes-like,” said Hot Dog Water CEO Douglas Bevans.
Well, in actuality, it doesn’t work. The bottles of Hot Dog Water were being sold as part of an experiment in human behavior.
The idea was to see how packaging, marketing, and a promise to solve a problem influences a person’s buying patterns. Specifically, Bevans wanted to know if people really investigate a product that advertises certain health benefits before buying it.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) June 22, 2018
Anyone who took a moment to carefully read the label on the Hot Dog Water bottle would find a potentially disappointing disclaimer.
“Hot Dog Water in its absurdity hopes to encourage critical thinking related to product marketing and the significant role it can play in our purchasing choices.”
— Douglas Bevans (@ricdinricdon) June 18, 2018
According to the National Association of Sales Professionals, people buy something for two reasons: “to gain pleasure” or “avoid pain.” The allure of Hot Dog Water met both of those requirements. It promised to help “avoid pain” by solving health problems. With promoting anti-aging properties and weight loss benefits, the product pushes the “gain pleasure” button.
“It’s really sort of a commentary on product marketing and especially sort of health-quackery product marketing,” explained Bevans. “I think people will actually go away and reconsider some of these other $80 bottles of water that will come out that are ‘raw’ or ‘smart waters,’ or anything that doesn’t have any substantial scientific backing but just a lot of pretty impressive marketing.”
Despite the almost obvious absurdity of Hot Dog Water, over 60 people bought the product at the Vancouver event. The lesson here is right in line with the adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”