Fiji Water’s Tall Tales

Flickr user<a href="">esther dyson</a>/Creative Commons

Yesterday, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark posted this interview he did with Fiji Water co-owner Lynda Resnick on the Huffington Post. (Picture of Newmark and Resnick at left.) Newmark wrote he was looking for some storytelling advice. He went to the right person. Resnick told him: 

We have so much competition in the marketplace that if you don’t have a real, truthful story behind your product or service, it simply won’t be sustainable… Brands that are transparent, authentic and honest rise above their competition… Consumers want to feel good about the products and services they are buying and using.

Resnick’s “authentic and honest” is a bit rich, given that Mother Jones and many other media outlets have repeatedly criticized Fiji Water for rampant greenwashing and supporting Fiji’s military junta. Just last month, the company was sued for false advertising: Though Fiji Water is touted as “carbon-negative” on billboards, it uses a “forward crediting” model to take credit now for offsets that won’t happen until 2037, if ever.

Resnick explained to Newmark that telling a story is “one of the best ways to establish a sense of trust with your consumers…but remember, you can’t make it up it has to be real.” Resnick can keep telling stories. Here at Mother Jones, we’ll keep it real. For more truthtelling on Fiji Water, see Anna Lenzer’s excellent 2009 investigative feature on the company here.