The marketing genius who sells his bottle

The marketing genius who sells his bottle
The marketing genius who sells his bottle

So there you have it, it all starts with one question.

So what happened to the grocery bags?

When I was little, they were made of paper. Then they became plastic, equipped with handles, an undeniable progress for those who go to the supermarket on foot. But because plastic bags end up in the ocean and can be mistaken for jellyfish, sea creatures swallow them and suffocate, not to mention turtles who get caught in them.

We therefore invented reusable bags that we accumulate in a cupboard or in the trunk of our car, and which will also end up in nature.

First, they were made of a blend of textile and polymers, with a flat bottom and the grocery store logo on the sides. High-end cosmetics and clothing stores did the same thing to make people shout to the world that they were customers.

Afterwards, we saw fabric versions arriving in small shops hipsterssometimes with the store name printed, otherwise an uplifting thought or slogan.

I have been at the forefront of this movement. Long before they were omnipresent, I used this kind of beige bag to go to the market. I had two made by an acquaintance of my mother-in-law at the time whose daughter was eco-friendly. A friend who was always on the cutting edge of trends and sarcasm made fun of my face and my shopping bags; whenever he had the opportunity, he mentioned my “jute bags” while pushing the note with disdain. “And, did you go grocery shopping with your juuuuute bags?”

Today, we find these fabric totes everywhere, misshapen, without structure, compartment or zipper, and we don’t ask for more to carry your kale, avocados and kombucha. But the people who carry them under their arms, sometimes two at a time, don’t even come back from the grocery store anymore, I can’t even tell where they come from and where they’re going, nor what they’re dragging. in their crumpled bag. A wallet? An umbrella? A book? An Apple?

It’s been a long time since we stopped calling it a grocery bag, by the way, but a “tote”, as in tote bags. We should rather say “cabas” in French, a detail. Now people collect them, more or less actively. In a store not far from my house, I saw them for $50.

After a few metamorphoses, the reusable grocery bag has become a trendy item.

On the street the other day, I saw a young woman with her somewhat chic jute shopping bag hanging on her shoulder and on which we could read, a kilometer away, The Marc Jacobs Tote Bag. Marc Jacobs? I checked on the Internet, it looks like a brand of bling-bling accessories, like Michael Kors.

Oh well! They are listed at prices ranging from $235 to $790.

It’s vulgar, if you ask me.

For $5,000, you can treat yourself to a “tote” with the words “Christian Dior” embroidered in large letters, instead of the letters “I”, “G”, “A”.


How can an initiative born out of environmental concern be so easily taken over by commercial interests, to the point of perverting the original intention? Marketing genius dazzles me as much as our servility as consumers depresses me. Servility? I should rather say “enthusiasm”.

A more intense form of this frenzy has gained people over reusable water bottles. Their function is quite rudimentary, however: to allow its owner to hydrate between two sources without having to buy bottled water in a disposable plastic container. We used to call it a water bottle, and we looked stupid carrying one around if it wasn’t for an expedition in the forest.

In principle, one should be enough. Apparently not. You now need them in all colors and in several formats, for all occasions: the sports session, the festival, the picnic, the shopping, the afternoon at the swimming pool, and even for drinking from home and office.

By the way, am I hallucinating or are there people really obsessed with hydration? Now people carry two liters of water with them at all times, in addition to their container to hold their liquid, they need a backpack just to carry their bottle which is no longer portable.

I underestimated the extent of the craze until I caught a report on the radio about the Stanley bottle craze in January. It meant nothing to me, Stanley, except for drinking champagne among millionaires in June, in a hockey locker room, until I saw what it was about, the object is so familiar, and not particularly pretty . You know, that container that’s chunky at the top, and thinned at the base to fit into a cup holder. The other side of the cup of the same name!

I don’t know if it’s still the case, but six months ago, kids were pestering their parents for them. In the radio report, children couldn’t stand it any longer as they unwrapped this insulated cup on Christmas Eve, we could almost hear them peeing in their pajamas because they were so excited. For a steel cup?

The frenzy did not spare the adults; by digging a little, I found testimonials from collectors who accumulate them by the dozens. Some models produced in limited quantities sell for hundreds of dollars.

THE buzz would obviously not have been possible without the intervention of a few celebrities, before their epigones who abound on TikTok exploited the vein.

Without realizing it, I myself was swept away by the wave. Before the Stanley, it was the Hydro Flask that was in fashion, it seems. I had one, before I forgot it somewhere. Since then, I’ve been carrying around a battered imitation of S’well, another popular brand among water bottle aficionados.

Like the grocery bag, the water bottle is becoming a marker of social status. Because now we can buy designer containers! Prada offers one in industrial shapes, with a carabiner attached to the cap, for $230. That would be my type. In any case, much more than Dior! This one has a leather strap, with the brand name inlaid in the polished steel, but it’s too feminine for my tastes.

Even though I was at the top of the top, my friend I mentioned above would still find a way to make fun of me.

At $1200 a bottle, he would be right.

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