Whatever happened to Vitaminwater?

As I am walking through a convenient store I walk along the aisles of food and come to the back where the fridges with cokes and beer are and then I notice on one small row are the Vitaminwaters. I think to myself, do people still drink this? Why? This drink didn’t even taste good. How were they so popular and how did they stay in business for so long? When did the advertisements stop for this?

vitamin water

Upon further research, I learn that like most great American companies, this one started when somebody had an idea and nothing to lose. A recently, divorced man J. Darius Bikoff gets sick and mixes his mineral water with a vitamin C packet and voila, the idea of Vitaminwater is born. Bikoff starts Energy Brands ® with little to business experience and it takes off, grossing 350 million dollars a year. A couple years later, Coca- Cola buys the small business for 4.1 billion dollars. And that was when I realized how Vitaminwater had prospered for so long, Coca- Cola fueled them and marketed them. It was all starting to make sense.

However, the question came into my mind, if Coca- Cola owns Vitaminwater is it even healthy? Apparently according to a lawsuit filed in 2013 by the states of Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and the Virgin Islands, Vitaminwater isn’t as healthy as its commercials claim. It may have started out healthy but since the buy out by Coca- Cola, the formula has been altered to include crystallized fructose which is know to cause fat deposition in cells. The vitamins in Vitaminwater are mainly Vitamin B and C which are almost never lacking in a person’s diet. Also, the extra amount of vitamins in Vitaminwater may even be deleterious to a person’s health based on studies where synthesized vitamins were compared to vitamins contained in grown food. Bottom line- vitaminwater is not healthy and is actually harmful to your health if consumed in large quantities.

If this is the case then why do celebrities endorse this product? The main spokesman I can think of for Vitaminwater was the rapper 50 cent . 50 cent who is a minor shareholder of Vitaminwater took in roughly 75- 100 million dollars between 2005 and 2007, so his endorsement was easy- for the money. But why 50 cent? Vitaminwater wanted to appeal to young urban consumers so they used hip hop artists and athletes to market their drinks even though it has almost no benefit for the athletes.


Thanks to the aforementioned lawsuit and less Vitaminwater advertisements being shown by Media companies, Vitaminwater is slowly dying out. However, the lawsuit brought up a good question, who can regulate what is shown through media? The FCC should but seems to need work in the area of health beverages so drinks like Vitaminwater are not shown to young urban kids as healthy. Vitaminwater is a prime example of what happens without tight regulations on health advertisements and demonstrates the powerful control large corporations like Coca- cola have on consumers when even proposed health benefitting drinks turn out to be deleterious beverages.

-Steven Kaufman


One thought on “Whatever happened to Vitaminwater?

  1. cascadiyeah

    Interesting post. But do you really think the best way to improve advertisements is to have the FCC step in? I don’t necessarily disagree, but this would definitely be controversial in the American political climate.

    Liked by 1 person

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