Archive for April, 2008

It’s the IOD annual Convention 2008 at the Royal Albert Hall this Wednesday 30th April and we’ve taken on the bold step of becoming the official water sponsors for this high profile CarbonNeutral(R) event until 2010. This years’ guest speakers are scheduled as Bob Geldof (KBE), Kevin Spacey, Willie Walsh, Dame Fiona Reynolds, Hamid Akhavan, Kevin Roberts and the Rt Hon David Cameron MP.

This is our first foray into officially sponsoring water for high profile corporate events. We’ve previously operated on a less formal basis, as we did for Eurostar when they held a ‘green day’ celebratory trip to Paris to commemorate the opening of Ebbsfleet station in January.

Coming back to the speakers, it’s a sad indictment of modern society that a press photo of any one of these successful individuals sipping an Aquapax will potentially have greater impact for our business than all our combined product research and quality focus added together. Some of the more flamboyant (big budget) bottled water brands have resorted to celebrity endorsement as their sole marketing strategy, such is the adulation society seems to give to someone in the media spotlight.

It’s as if we’ve dumbed down the thought process we (large numbers of us) make on what represents quality or acceptability, such that if it’s ok for someone whose famous (including ‘b’ list celebs) to drink brand ‘x’ (even if they might be paid for it) then it must be ok for me. Perhaps the dumbing down reference more accurately relates to the association some people combine with their blind adulation, where a syndrome of ‘if I do what they do, then I’ll be like them’ exists?

Either way, it’s going to be really uplifting to see these fine and thoroughly successful people enjoying (perhaps) their first Aquapax (planet and baby friendly pure mineral water in a paper carton) along with c.3000 other delegates. I do hope we can get some photos to use on a future ‘gallery section’ of our website. Who knows, we could get a whole new customer base from people who want to ‘be like Bob’.

Our real reason for the sponsorship was to reach the independent minded senior directors in the audience and hopefully get them thinking why their businesses still use plastic bottles, despite their clearly articulated and well publicised environmental policies.

If you aren’t scheduled to make it along to the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday, we’ve added a link to our website so you can see the 30 second showreel we’re showing at the convention on the big screen.

I wonder if the commitments being requested of business leaders at the ‘May day’ celebrations taking part with HRH Prince of Wales on Thursday 1st May will encourage some of the delegates to ‘join up their thinking’ – now that’s what I interpret as the thing my dad used to call ‘common sense’.


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sundaytimesstylemag200408 If you’re one of the c.3M people who read the Sunday Times, then you possibly saw the piece already, but just in case, here’s a PDF version mentioning our wonderful AQUAPAX…

We’re completely thrilled with this mention in the mainstream media, particularly next to the column from the award winning journalist Jennifer Harper-Deacon. We got some feedback regarding the absence of a website link or phone number, but you can’t write pieces for journalists, otherwise it’s called advertising, and the glass certainly remains way more than half full from my perspective.

Another full-on week ahead. Repair required to front right car tyre sometime today (where do nails on roads come from?). Design briefing for Sussex University design students tomorrow – I’ve noticed one of them already appears to be blogging about the imminent design challenge I’m setting them, and I haven’t even given the brief yet. Finals of the SEEDA sponsored MAD (make a difference) student enterprise scheme on Wednesday evening – I’ve mentored another 2 students this year and it’s always an adrenelin fuelled moment as they pitch their schemes to the audience… The real reward is in encouraging them to identify an initiative they’re passionate about and to think about it clearly. Thursday sees another very early start breakfast meeting, followed by an in-store demo at Fresh & Wild in Stoke Newington and then back in the office Friday for catching up, prospecting and admin.

Have fun – I intend to… 🙂

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It’s been an interesting month thus far and my carbon balancing budget will be needing a top-up for all the miles driven up to now.  Changed the car on Saturday – the black beauty has gone in her convertible splendor, making way for a more sensible silver car that’s more respectful of the wonderful world we live in and which can get lots of stuff in the back. I do still use my bike for local trips, but carrying heavy water cartons on my back has been taking its toll lately. (aren’t osteopath’s expensive?)

Following another epic week, we were at the NPE (Natural Products Europe) exhibition on Sunday (my birthday) and Monday, giving tasters of Aquapax to visitors on the Marigold Health Foods stand and engaging with our trade and non-trade customers alike. I know a trade exhibition isn’t supposed to have members of the public there, but we’re all human beings first and that’s the level at which I prefer to engage with folk. It was a really encouraging show for us and some of the trade distributors we had made contact with at NTS in Brighton during March were there again, allowing a renewed acquaintance (nay ‘relationship’) to be followed-up on, which is after all how life should work.

There’s an old expression that if you genuinely love what you do, then work is something you will take pleasure from. As a ‘people person’ working with wonderful people has always been a pleasure and that’s how I felt after a couple of days working with the Marigold team. They’re a genuinely cool and friendly bunch, comfortable in their skin, which makes them fun to be around – particularly when one whips out a harmonica and starts jamming while the rest of us are clearing the stand down at the end of the day. Working in the natural products world, with knowledgeable nice people helps me relax, which proves another wise old saying – “nothing will content him who is not content with a little”.

Hot on the heels of all that exciting prospecting comes our newly revised website re-launch, which (with a bit of luck & a lot of solid effort – thank you Ian) should be going live this very evening. Isn’t it a reflection on modern life that a website revamp can keep you ‘wired’ till the early hours, processing bits of information, continually changing how you say what you say in an attempt to actually say what you mean? Even then it’s no guarantee to pass the biggest test of all – the scutiny of the ‘public’ – that’s you!

I’m getting the site ready for an anticipated flourish that’s just around the corner – I can feel it coming and it feels good. Be great to have some feedback – please be gentle, as web world can become a solitary place if visitors remain anonymous and writing for an unknown audience can be challenging.

Time for dinner – and then there’s some invoicing to be done.

With love.



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There are some alarming links coming through the web this month regarding pollutants in tap water. Emanating from the US, I’m copying a couple of the links bellow in a rational attempt to maintain balance in web world.

We all know there is a plethora of ill conceived cranky rubbish out there on the web and I’m not making a judgement call on the efficacy of these particular articles. I do, however, wonder whether an information source with a revenue stream linked to the consumption of bottled water is likely to promote any truly impartial article relating to tap water quality? – not me you plonker – keep reading…

The first of the US based articles is here and it headlines on ‘pharmaceuticals found in US drinking water’. What are the prospects for a headline like that to secure readership? It supplies a link through to the second article here which provides seemingly factual data from the US National Tap Water Quality Database, with lots of data. This is actually a potentially helpful database if you’ve got the time to read it and I’m sure we could use something presented this transparently here in the UK.

Both of these are pretty scary if read without understanding what they’re actually saying, but I don’t have a background in chemistry, so I don’t fully appreciate the nuances.

The impact of scary headlines is on the most vulnerable, where the aptitude to digest and consider information might not be readily available. These same vulnerable folk are the ones who (typically) can least afford to buy bottled water. It doesn’t seem right to target them with abbreviated and potentially exaggerated facts just to make a bit of money from selling them bottled water.

From my personal background in the ‘tap’ water industry, and with my declared interest in the ‘portable water’ industry, I write this at a human level. I absolutely believe that the people who directly work in water quality and the DWI as guardians of the public health (Regulators of drinking water quality), would never knowingly compromise their integrity on the issue of safety.

I also know from my own research on the subject (from respectable World Health Organisation published data) that there is toxicity potential from the commonly occurring groundwater contaminants known as nitrates, with respect to small infants.

I’m not suggesting any of these US reported pharmaceuticals are good for anyone – if indeed they’re in our water, but should we really allow a story to get in the way of the facts?

I’ve posted on this subject before and parents should be aware of nitrates in particular and their toxic potential when choosing any water to give their infants.

Naturally I’m biased and I do endorse Aquapax as a pure quality safe product in an ecologically sound and protective package, but that’s because I’m confident of its integrity. There are lots of bottled waters which I would not endorse, try reading some of the ingredients / contents on their labels and see for yourself. And if they leave out their nitrate levels (NO2 or NO3) perhaps you can ask them what it is…

Rant over… have a nice day!

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