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Look What Mio Started!

I posted an article about some very interesting interactive advertising for the water enhancement liquid call Mio back in 2012 when this category was fairly new: Totally Interactive Advertising . It is hard to create print advertising that truly stands out so I was eager to share the concept. (Basically, you dip the ad in water and it recreates what the product does when added to a glass of water.)

Since then the category has matured. More brands have joined Mio on shelf and Mio has continued to create brand extensions. Here is how many brands there are to choose from now. It is truly overwhelming:

Right next to these liquid water enhancers are their forefathers, the powered water enhancers, such as Crystal Light and the original grand daddies of them all Tang and Kool-Aid:

We all know why this proliferation of products starts.The Krafts of this world need to be innovative and come up with different product categories to make us consume more. Do we really need this many ways to flavor our water? And what exactly is in these products? They promise to give us additional energy and vitamins. I did a little research and I found an article on the Fooducate blog by Hemi Weingarten from 2011 that profiled the new Mio product. In fact, there is really nothing of nutritional value in these products:

Water, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Malic Acid, Contains Less than 2% of Natural Flavor, Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium (Sweeteners), Potassium Citrate, Red 40, Blue 1, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).

A more current article on the same topic from Nutrition Sleuth said basically the same thing: "Unfortunately, these stylish water enhancers are 100 percent marketing hype and zero percent substance. The trivial amount of vitamins they contain — typically B vitamins, which are promoted as energy enhancers — won’t give you a health boost."

Marketing hype or a nutritious drink aside, people are buying them and the category continues to grow. Look how many have joined the fray:

Private Label

Now I have a confession to make. After doing my research and discovering that not just these water enhancers but also the bottled drinks such as Vitamin Water Zero and Powerade are just as nutritionally challenged. I was totally bummed. I LOVE Vitamin Water Zero. I drink 2-3 a day. Also, if I don't have a bottle on hand, I turn to Mio. Not a great habit to have but I could have worse. Imagine my delight when I found that Vitamin Water Zero had introduced it's own water enhancer:

I thought I could save a substantial amount of money if I could just flavor my water. Plus I could cut down on the number of plastic bottles being tossed out. (I should note, that the Vitamin Water bottles are PETE 1 recyclable.) Well, after trying the product I can say confidently that it doesn't taste anything like the bottled version so I'm back to my bottled habit with Mio on the side. If it helps me to drink more water, then I will look the other way when it comes to the potentially harmful chemicals and trace vitamins that can't hurt me.

In the meantime, the water enhancement category continues to grow and morph. New benefits and flavors continue to be introduced. Check out the Mio Artist Series in Orange Vanilla. It contains "NATURAL FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVOR". What the heck does that mean?

The Mio website showcases all of the categories and flavors it offers Make It Mio.

Patty Jensen is Vice President of Account Services at JDA Inc, a graphic design firm that specializes in supporting companies' branding and retail efforts with a Unified Marketing approach. To learn more, click here.


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