Thousands of people packed Vancouver’s Main Street on Sunday to take in the annual Car Free Day festival.
And among the food vendors, merchant stands and music was one stall that stood out, inviting the public to enjoy a chilled, refreshing, healthful glass of Hot Dog Water.
Yes, that’s right. Hot Dog Water.
“We’ve created a recipe, having a lot of people put a lot of effort into research and a lot of people with backgrounds in science really creating the best version of Hot Dog Water that we could,” self-styled Hot Dog Water CEO Douglas Bevans told Global News.
The drink’s impressive marketing advertises it as gluten-free, Keto diet-compatible, rich in sodium and a source of electrolytes.
It also promises to help the drinker lose weight, increase brain function and look younger.
“There’s a fair bit of it that is too science-y for me, but from what I understand from the specialists here working on it, it’s this idea of like-likes-like,” Bevan quipped.
“So the protein of the Hot Dog Water helps your body uptake the water content, and the sodium and all the things you’d need post-workout.”
A bottle of Hot Dog water would set the adventurous water fan back $37.99, while a “Father’s Day special” will get you the bargain price of $75 for two. Hot Dog Water lip balm, breath spray and body fragrance were also for sale.
Wait, this can’t be real?
If your gut is telling you there’s no way this can be real, congratulations, you’re right.
Tucked into the fine print at the bottom of the Hot Dog Water sales pitch is this:
“Hot Dog Water in its absurdity hopes to encourage critical thinking related to product marketing and the significant role it can play in our purchasing choices.”
Bevans, a tour operator by trade, is also an artist, and said the Hot Dog Water concept was actually dreamed up as a commentary on what he called the “snake oil salesmen” of health marketing.
“It’s really sort of a commentary on product marketing, and especially sort of health-quackery product marketing,” he said.
“From the responses, I think people will actually go away and reconsider some of these other $80 bottles of water that will come out that are ‘raw’ or ‘smart waters,’ or anything that doesn’t have any substantial scientific backing but just a lot of pretty impressive marketing.”
He said the reactions from the public ranged from people who got the joke right away to utter confusion.
The stunt didn’t come cheap. Bevans said he went out of pocket by about $1,200 on bottles, labels, branding and other costs. He said they also got about $500 in grants, and the Car Free Day festival organizers waived his table fee.
But while Hot Dog Water may not be the true health drink revolution of the future, Bevans said there was no shortage of brave people willing to try it.
“They’ve been drinking it for hours,” he said. “We have gone through about 60 litres of real hot dog water.”