Sunday, April 19, 2009

Drinking Chilean Woman-water

And now, for a new low in marketing, Chile’s Cachantun (owned by Nestle) is marketing mineral water just for women. Called “Mas Woman” (More Woman), the maker says, in my translation from the Spanish:

Putting itself in tune with the requirements of the active modern life, the Chilean business Cachatun has launched More Woman, a multi-function flavored mineral water for the multi-role woman. This water was developed to pay tribute to women and in recognition of their tastes and needs as it is free of calories, very low in sodium and softly carbonated.

Although other brands offer these qualities, More Woman stands out in having in addition special essential ingredients for the care of your skin and your body:
* Calcium to strengthen your bones
*Vitamin E, an antioxidant that prevents the premature angling of the skin and bodily fatigue.
*Fiber, which contributes to improved intestinal transit
*Aloe Vera, which helps in the natural regeneration of the skin while stimulating the growth of firmer and healthier hair.
Femininity is expressed not only in its contents, but also in its container, and exclusive lilac colored bottle and attractive design that will be available in 500 cc and 1.5 liter formats and in two flavors: Fruits of the Forest and Ginger-Lemon. 1

I suppose that if you wish to pay more for water than for gasoline (about $1 a ½ liter here in Chile, roughly double the cost of gasoline) it really doesn’t matter if you buy Woman-Water, Man-Water or Goat-Water, since what you are actually buying is a plastic bottle and a marketing campaign (water, after all is almost free).  But since they are planning to make a bundle by marketing flavored water for a 95% or so profit, it is interesting to look at their marketing strategy. 
1. It’s in English. We’re not selling Mas Mujer, but Mas Woman.  Not so taxing on the vocabulary as to put people off, but clearly in English. In Chile, English is cool; English is status; English is upper class.  Until 2004 only students in private schools got to study English.2  Professionals read in English for their university studies. TV anchors and commentators drop the occasional English word in their reporting. My wife has me call for restaurant reservations since she thinks my gringo accent will get a better table. Shops in my neighborhood have English names:   Dr. Pet, Pet City: Pet Food & Supplies, Pet Shop Doll, Pet Shop, Kinder garden, Love Garden, Full Contact Kick Boxing, Dry Cleaning, Big Market, Small Market, World Gym, Rent-a-car, On the Run; Select Food and City Services, Sushi Bar and Delivery, More Image, etc.  English sells. 

2. It’s full of buzz words: “active modern life,” “multi functional,” “multi-role woman,” "natural." Trite, but evidently still effective.
3. It “pays tribute to women.”  Does it?  My reaction was rather different.
4. It makes questionable health claims.  Vitamin E, calcium and fiber are all necessary dietary components, but data on quantities included in Mas Woman are not available, nor is supplementation of water necessarily a useful way to improve nutrition. Besides, Vitamin E recommendations for women and men are the same (15 mg/day--though lactating mothers need slightly more, 19 mg/day) and Vitamin E deficiency is very rare. 3
As for Aloe Vera, its health claims are unsubstantiated and, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, (US) National Institutes of Health:

Aloe latex contains strong laxative compounds. Products made with various components of aloe (aloin, aloe-emodin, and barbaloin) were at one time regulated by the FDA as oral over-the-counter (OTC) laxatives. In 2002, the FDA required that all OTC aloe laxative products be removed from the U.S. market or reformulated because the companies that manufactured them did not provide the necessary safety data.

Early studies show that topical aloe gel may help heal burns and abrasions. One study, however, showed that aloe gel inhibits healing of deep surgical wounds. Aloe gel does not prevent burns from radiation therapy.

There is not enough scientific evidence to support aloe vera for any of its other uses. 4

Finally, the whole bottled water business is wasteful, polluting and contributes to global warming.

According to a 2001 report of the World Wide Fund for Nature, roughly 1.5 million tons of plastic are expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.

Besides the sheer number of plastic bottles produced each year, the energy required to manufacture and transport these bottles to market severely drains limited fossil fuels. Bottled water companies, due to their unregulated use of valuable resources and their production of billions of plastic bottles have presented a significant strain on the environment.5
The tap water in Chile, in contrast to much of Latin America, is safe.  And while it is often convenient to buy a bottle of water when thirsty and out of the house, I try to avoid it.  Why contribute unnecessarily to pollution, global warming and the profits of multinationals?  And if you feel that you or your children would be healthier drinking bottled water, buying the least expensive local brand in big bottles and recycling them will be good for your wallet and the environment.
1. Mas Woman, un plus para la mujer moderna. March 26, 2009 on line at

2. Larry Rohter. Learn English, Says Chile. Thinking Upwardly Global. Letter From The Americas,.New York Times, December 29, 2004, on line at
3. Vitamin E, Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health. on line at
4. Aloe Vera. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health on line at
5. The Effects of Bottled Water on the Environment on line at


  1. Good post!
    There are lots of products with curiously gender-specific marketing campaign (yogurt for women too). I can't help but wonder who falls for this stuff--but someone must, because they keep coming up with more!
    I'd also like to know how you get fiber into water!

  2. Thanks Margaret. I wondered about the fiber too, and found the following: US Patent 6248390 - Fiber-water--water containing soluble fiber ( So I guess they can put fiber in water… but wouldn’t it be better to eat an apple?

    Best wishes - I’ve been enjoying your blog.


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