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Archive for the ‘moderation’ Category

interesting how many calls and texts we’re getting to tell us about this ‘major new series’ starting this evening on BBC2 with an expose of how large corporations make people drink bottled water…

All the messages are the same; here’s a perfect opportunity to contact the bbc and get your message across, how it’s not all about big corporates exploiting people… how poor the water quality is in many of the bottled waters out on store shelves… how there are options out there (aka Aquapax) for people of conscience who still care about what they ingest.

If only it were that simple… even the bbc points of view message board is down for maintenance, so I’m sorry but we can’t even comment via that forum either! 

Reading between the lines, any bbc programme billed as a major series means they had a BIG budget and had to visit at least half a dozen exotic locations to ensure the images will entertain the audience and give an appearance of being credible where a dry research report wouldn’t be understood. Who are they trying to fool (other than the license payers) as we all know bbc2 audiences respond more favourably to facts than sensationalist journalism.

If anyone knows a journo looking for a reasonably intelligent conversation on the whole bottled water thing, please give them my number or my twitter profile @neiltwaterguy and I’d be delighted to engage…

ps. we had our annual trading standards visit yesterday and it’s another clean bill of health – as if we’d expect anything less. We’ve also had approval from Aquapax water quality analysed in the Middle East as being ‘suitable for infants’ so it’s all go over there too.

Hang on in there – the revolution is flowing… 🙂

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or dreadful delays would be another title which is not quite as disparaging of our current website. There’s little wrong with a static website – particularly if people manage to find the reasonably prominent ‘visit our founder’s blog’ link where they can then access this particular oracle. Equally, there’s a lot more it could do if we integrated this blog and other online content within the site, all accessed from a central url.

We chose wordpress as the site platform some time ago and I then worked on quite a tight brief with an exceptionally talented young student from Sussex Down’s College who I met during last year’s Aquapax viral media programme. NB. You can google search this year’s submissions on you tube – type ‘within the last month’ to see this year’s clips – they’re typically fun and one in particular has already attracted as many views as last year’s winner took a whole year to achieve!

In any event, my chosen (he volunteered actually) student’s competence to deliver the site was never in doubt, but I guess with hindsight, he always had too much on his plate, where the fact our website was to be a reference site for him (rather than a commercial project) meant we were obliged to wait…

Here we are 12 months down the road (sounds ludicrous now I see it in type) and he’s politely baled out, leaving us with an unforeseen (and unbudgeted for) dilemma…  So I’ve dusted off the original brief (which pretty much stands) and sent it off to a seemingly talented freelance wordpress developer in Brighton.

Now we wait again to see if she can fit us in, when she might fit us in and what she might charge for completing the task.  Teaching myself CSS might be another way forward, but there are too many other draws on my time right now, so that’s an unlikely solution! 

awarded to Just Drinking Water for AQUAPAX

Did I mention our A5 postcard (available in the ‘downloads’ section above) we send out to communicate what Aquapax is and why it’s a good idea has been shortlisted for ‘the green awards’ in the best direct response category? Sadly I can’t make the award dinner in town, but I’ve written to ask if we can sponsor the water to showcase Aquapax to those who haven’t yet seen it.

That’s my outlook calendar calling me in the background to get back to work… I’ll up-date when we have a solution 🙂

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Isn’t this appropriate for ‘the waterguy’ with a time management challenge when it comes to regular blog updates… but less of me and what’s with the blog action water thing?

 ‘Blog Action Day’ (capitals because it’s official) is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water…

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water, which equates to one in eight of us. A lack of basic sanitation (water dependent) causes 80% of diseases and kills more people each year than war does. Children are especially vulnerable and as a parent of a child who’s survived dysentery, it’s a most frightening (water borne) illness which we were fortunate to have nursed our child through.

The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation. So simple, yet so challenging, particularly where politics gets in the way to restrict those least able from helping themselves…

For my part, water is an environmental issue, a sustainability issue and an issue which deserves a global profile as bloggers of the world theoretically unite in one conversation…

I’m not really into research, but the US, Mexico and China apparently lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. That sounds high to me, but based on this figure, around 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, while more than 80 percent will unlikely ever be recycled.

Which brings me back to where I started out several years ago looking for a better alternative when I realised people won’t stop drinking bottled water just because I think its ecological folly.

I’m pleased, on this particular Blog Action Day, to be able to report how Aquapax is still growing from strength to strength, with a retail listing approaching 500 stores across Europe and with exciting new distribution areas embracing the change we’ve introduced in their own countries.

While it’s frustrating how some UK retailers still won’t talk to us until we can prove with expensive research reports how their particular customers might actually appreciate a more ecologically sensible choice of packaged water, we continue to grow through customer choice exercised within Tesco, Waitrose and Monop (part of Monoprix Group) so this makes three of the largest and most respected retailers in the world.

I’ve updated the ‘where can I buy Aquapax’ listing below with the UK based stores we know about and ask you to please let us know if you’d like to add your local independent retail outlet to this list.

Warm wishes

N

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The media’s full of ‘LFW’ and quite right too – it’s something London’s managed to retain on the international kudos stakes and no matter how hard our bankers seemingly try to screw up the nation’s reputation, creativity continues to flourish!

We had a number of requests for sponsorship support this year which is encouraging in a way considering the folk who must have come to know us through our limited Estethica alliance over the past couple of years.

This year’s ‘beautiful people’ sipping our wonderful water were the guests at the Nolcha Fashion Lounge at the Trafalgar Hotel, held in association with Bel Esprit, Gina Conway AVEDA and AMAKA, all co-ordinated through my lovely friend Lucy at the independent and supreme quality label Tammam. This was one of two events with Gina Conway AVEDA – but the brand is a favourite of mine…

We also assisted the extremely well patronised Ecoluxe Show held at One Aldwych and opened by Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez along with an entourage of journalists… The Ecoluxe event showcased some of the worlds foremost and celebrated ethical designers, hence the celebrity vistors who tend to know their stuff… 

And at an altogether more sedate pace we’ve again worked with our good friends Sam and Valerio over at Gallery Fumi in Tabernacle Street and at their private space on Hoxton Square.

There were other visitors sampling Aquapax at some of the more discrete shows in town, but if I write about those, they’d lose some of their intimacy next year… 😉

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Earth Day is celebrated across the world today (April 22nd) ever since the first ever designated Earth Week gathering which was organised by some particularly forward thinking student folk in Philadelphia back in 1970. Isn’t Wikipedia wonderful? 😉

That particular week started on April 16 and ended on what they called Earth Day, namely April 22. This day has been and continues to be observed with growing global support, up to the point where it’s now recognised in virtually every country on Earth.

As one who didn’t previously make any effort to understand the history of the occasion, it’s always been a day to make an extra effort to reduce my consumption. I cycle or walk to work if at all possible and in my own little way, I try to use whatever influence I have on those around me as an example of ‘living the other way – at least for a day’.

I had a day-dream today – or might it have been a premonition – that one day AQUAPAX will become the global sponsor for Earth Day. In the day-dream there was an inevitable incongruity for a premium eco-chic portable water brand to sponsor something that’s bigger than any brand (there’s a challenge for the guys at Coke) but that led me to ponder a solution…

Instead of going for the corporate style global sponsorship, I decided we can still achieve the token ideal by asking all our regular consumers to use their empty AQUAPAX containers for one more day during Earth Week (proving that by and large, we can almost always make do with what we typically choose to throw away) and then to cut the containers in half and plant a couple of tree seeds in the 2 half containers that leaves them. It’s a fitting way for a container mostly made of wood to end its life and it’s still recycling in a more direct action Earth Day kind of way… Mrs. Green will be proud of me…

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I spoke with my good friend Robert yesterday evening – you know when you meet someone who you just click with – that’s him! We met in Dubai last year for the Arab Beverage Industry Seminar, where AQUAPAX won the ‘Best Bottled Water of the Year’. He and I celebrated appropriately as old friends might, despite having only known one another a few days – we’ve kept in touch ever since; as friends do!

Robert was telling me how Mr. Obama’s ‘change and hope’ campaign message has translated in his home state of Michigan to the fact that ‘change’ has now come and people ‘hope’ they can keep hold of their homes… It seems the unemployment in his home state is pretty severe and I really feel for him and his young family.

That got me thinking – as this time of year often does, on some of the wisdom gained during the past 12 months. It’s good to reflect and hopefully not make so many mistakes next year…

  • My conscience doesn’t abide by ‘majority rule’.
  • A wise man holds his tongue when he’s right because even fools are right sometimes.
  • No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted and no man is as poor as a man unable to give anything.
  • Take time to think – my mind grows rich from what it receives, but my heart from what it gives.
  • Finish every day and be done with it – being happy at home is my ultimate goal. Worry won’t rob tomorrow’s sorrow but it will sap today’s joy.
  • Perseverance is not a long race; it’s a series of short races in succession.
  • I can’t win if I don’t begin – failure is often the line of least persistence.
  • I will not dwell on where I fell but will identify where I slipped.
  • I will do more of the things I think I can’t do; doing the impossible is fun – especially when you watch other’s reactions!
  • Money does not really change people – it merely unmasks them.
  • Words are like stones and can’t be recalled – unlike stones they often have little substance…

Finally, a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I hold dear: – “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes” 

Happy New Year to you dear reader, remember, AQUAPAX are the future… 🙂

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I can’t help wonder why decision making is sometimes so difficult. Are we afraid of ‘no’ or do we genuinely not know? This has been a frustrating fortnight for ‘maybe’, ‘possibly’ and ‘might’ – the financial markets may be recovering quite well, but there’s a hard core of ‘no decision suits me better’ out there which has to change if the economy is to pick up properly.

Commitment is a wonderful thing because it gives the impetus to go forward. Foundations can be laid and plans developed while positive actions are taken towards the execution of whatever has been decided. Once decisions are made, there’s no need to wait for anything and that same decisive action is now needed to kick-start the business world back to life.

In our own small way, we’re going for it and we’ve agreed to sponsor this year’s Chalgrove Live Music Festival. The way I see it, there will be 20 bands playing to an audience of a few thousand over 3 days from Friday evening 7th to Sunday evening 9th August. It’s a far more intimate affair than Glasto and unlikely to be as muddy… It’s also a perfect opportunity for families to enjoy their own music festival and let’s face it, music is a wonderful thing if you can enjoy it with people you love.

Why did we choose this particular festival this year? Well we’re scaling back a little, paying homage to these prudent times, but it’s still getting us out there in the Oxfordshire community, which is one of those areas where Aquapax doesn’t yet have great representation. (come on Oxfordshire businesses – your residents need Aquapax.) So there’s the strategic rationale, whereas on a human level, the fact we agree with the CLM ethos as a fun for the family fund raising festival (lots of f’s) which donates its profits to noble local charities is right up our street.

The Chalgrove Live Music Festival website seems to be having some issues right now, but we hope to see you there in any case. Find me on the Saturday if you want to talk opportunities – after 2 nights in a tent I get a little sleepy… 😉

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