Attendees of this past weekend’s Car Free Day Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia, could choose from standard fair food: burgers, sandwiches, ice cream. Oh, and a $38 bottle of unfiltered hot dog water.
The unusual beverage was billed as “keto-compatible,” gluten-free, rich in sodium, and shown to increase vitality and brain function. Of course, such a miraculous beverage commands a hefty price: $38 per bottle, or a Father’s Day special of two bottles for $75. Signage on the vendor’s white tent advertised the hot dog water as a creation of L&A Labs, but it was actually the brain child of Douglas Evans, Hot Dog Water CEO and an artist, who tells Global News he created it as a stunt. He calls it “a commentary on product marketing, and especially sort of health-quackery product marketing.”
Evans points to scientifically baseless products like raw water and pure water, for which consumers actually do shell out big bucks. “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,” he told Global News. A disclaimer at the bottom of the hot dog water’s marketing materials read: “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.”
Evans himself spent real money to make his point, though: he estimates the bottles, labeling, and marketing materials cost him about $1,200. (He said the hot dog water stunt also got about $500 in grants, and festival organizers waived his table fee.) Not everyone at the festival picked up on his joke, though; Evans says he sold about 60 liters of the stuff.