Can Advertising Make Everything Free?

hand holding water bottle

I may be late hearing about this organization called FreeWater (“The World’s First Free Beverage Company”), but upon learning of them I was dropped into an existential black hole where, for a moment, everything I had once thought about consumerism flew out the window.

FreeWater calls themselves a revolutionary marketing channel utilizing premium spring water as a type of advertising medium, while prioritizing philanthropy and sustainability. What is it…? This concept aims to manufacture and distribute bottled water to consumers for free, paying for everything and profiting with the money they make selling advertising space on the bottles themselves.

Think Facebook revenue model applied to tangible goods.

My mind reels at the endless possibilities and macro-economic roadblocks rolling this concept out at scale. Could we see free products, painted up like NASCAR, that go beyond water? And, if it works for media outlets why can’t it work for other industries? It’s an amazing experiment; you can bet I will keep tabs on their progress and am already following them online at #FreeWater!

Curious what your thoughts are about this idea. To all the readers out there in marketing, would you buy ad space on a free product if you knew it would create buzz? Let us know by leaving a comment on LinkedIn. Tag us and FreeWater in your post if you want to support them.

-Lee Sumner, Research Director