Editor's Picks: Hydration Fascination

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Consumers have an unquenchable thirst for drinkware. Between mugs, bottles and tumblers, they can’t get enough. And with ever-growing environmental and health concerns, reusable drinkware is a solution that makes a statement.

From marathon runners to corporate suits, consumers are constantly looking for the perfect cup. According to industry research, as many as 78 percent of U.S. consumers own branded drinkware, and half of those people use their logoed mugs and cups between two and three times per week. When people find a favorite bottle or mug, they use it faithfully, which is why branded drinkware leads in impressions—more than 1,400 for the average item in its lifecycle. Along with this heavy usage, people tend to keep branded drinkware longer than other categories of promo items. PPAI research shows that recipients keep their promotional kitchenware, including mugs and other drinkware, for roughly four years on average. So, it’s not a question of whether end users are using branded drinkware, but if they’re using drinkware that’s customized with your client’s branding.

Drinkware is more than an everyday essential; it’s a testament to one’s lifestyle. Consumers have found an identity in the types of beverages they drink and drinkware they use. The Atlantic says coffee lovers have created a prospering coffee-connoisseur culture. According to a survey of 2,000 coffee drinkers by OnePoll, almost half (49 percent) of respondents say they have become at-home baristas during quarantine, developing their coffee-making skills during their time inside. Since the pandemic began, more Americans (42 percent) now consider themselves coffee connoisseurs.

Today, drinkware can even be a defining characteristic of a subgroup. For example, the “VSCO girl” or “VSCO kids” are always sipping from and carrying around a Hydro Flask water bottle. In 2019, the VSCO girl, named after the photo-editing app VSCO, became popular on social media and has since emerged into a youth subculture of people who post trendy photos of a similar aesthetic. This cool, carefree VSCO girl lives (and posts) a surfer-like lifestyle, wearing puka shell necklaces and hair scrunchies. While the beach aesthetic is fundamental to the VSCO girl, consistently using products, like the Hydro Flask, is also vital to her identity.

Today, drinkware is a part of self-expression. The Atlantic says that fancy water bottles have become a status symbol. Carrying a water bottle not only implies that you make hydration a priority, but also that you care about the environment. Essential to a well-functioning body, drinking water is obviously not new, but the trend of constant consumption has continued to rise in popularity over the past decade. Like other uber-popular consumer goods, major celebrity endorsements have helped to fuel this hydration fixation. The 2000s led to a rise of water brands like Évian and FIJI. In a 2005 Washington Post report, publicist Jonathan Cheban describes how he made Évian into a luxury water brand, which he achieved by strategically placing Évian onto tables at an Oscars after-party, resulting in a myriad of photographs being taken of celebrities sipping their Évian water bottles.

In 2007, Glaceau’s Smartwater joined the high-end water wars with actress Jennifer Aniston as its new spokesperson. While Aniston showcased the brand in ads, she also spoke of water as her beauty secret whenever she could. According to Paper magazine, in interviews she’d boast to drinking 100 ounces of water per day. Soon other celebrities touted the benefits of water as being similar to all-purpose beauty elixir. Beyonce told Vogue in 2012 that she drinks a gallon of water a day and Gabrielle Union told The New York Times that she does the same to maintain her “hair, skin and nails.” Suddenly, drinking water became so “cool” that it was constantly being endorsed by top entertainers and other celebrities.

Hydration is a top wellness priority for many consumers. Now marketed as a cure for many of life’s woes, water on-the-go is a must. Since 2017, bottled water has been the most popular beverage in the United States by volume, surpassing soft drinks with sales up seven percent over the previous year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, a beverage consulting firm. This love for water isn’t just based on brand name, either. According to Statistica, generic brands outsell prestigious ones. While consumers may curb their intake of caffeinated or sugary beverages, pop culture says to drink more water. So, people are drinking water all day and even carrying it around with them, bringing water on the go. Giant, even cumbersome water jugs are a new fashion accessory, according to MEL magazine.

The New York Times says that everyone’s 2020 resolution was to drink more water. As a result, this need for easy-to-use and convenient drinkware for everyday hydration and a growing focus on fitness is driving market growth. The drinkware market is following suite with sales expected to exceed $35 billion by 2025, according to MarketWatch. Global shifts toward the use of more sustainable materials are also leading to market gains. When it comes to mugs and cups, metal and silicon are leading the industry. Metal drinkware, in particular, is more durable than other materials, making it much more economically and environmentally viable, according to MarketWatch. Consumers also gravitate to design-forward drinkware that represents their lifestyles.

Drinkware gifts say, “I care about you. Please stay hydrated.” Whether it’s a water, tea or tequila, every end user could use a drink.

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Styrofoam is one of the most environmentally unfriendly types of waste that exists today. According to the Green Dining Alliance, it takes over 500 years for Styrofoam to break down. Around the world, 25 to 30 percent of landfill space is filled with Styrofoam. While many types of packaging can be recycled, Styrofoam containers that held food or beverages are not recyclable due to contamination, even at recycling centers where Styrofoam is accepted. One distributor saw not just a problem, but an opportunity waiting for a solution. Chris Stumpf, MAS, CEO of Stumpies Marketing Group, also saw a marketing opportunity for one of his clients, a scout camp for kids, and stepped in with promotional drinkware to replace the Stryofoam cups being used. Stumpf explains, “Gulf Stream Council operates a scout camp called Tanah Keeta Scout Reservation in Florida. During their weeklong summer camp, they serve 17 meals to scouts. They also feed the scouts involved in day activities. There are water coolers spread around the camp for people to get water. On average, a scout might get water three times a day from the coolers and eat three meals meaning a scout would use a minimum of six Styrofoam cups per day. Just for the weeklong scout camp program, the camp would use around 26,000 Styrofoam cups.”

To save money and the environment, Stumpies Marketing Group imprinted the camp logo on a plastic stein mug from supplier CPS Keystone along with the camp’s name on the carabiner. Stumpf says, “When the scouts check in, they are given a mug with the carabiner clipped to the handle so they can clip the mug to their belt loop or backpack. When they go to meals, the only way to get a drink is to use their mug. When they are around camp and want water out of the coolers, they have to use their mug.” Not only did the mug solve a significant problem, but it also highlighted the camp’s values. “This saves about 26,000 to 30,000 Styrofoam cups from being put into the landfill. It teaches responsibility, sustainability and is environmentally friendly. It saves the camp money because they spend less on the mugs and carabiners than the cost of the Styrofoam cups. This also supports one of the 12 scout laws which is ‘A Scout is Thrifty.’ The scouts can continue to use the mug after camp is over. They can take it on other camping trips, so they don’t have to buy a cup in the future. The carabiner can also be used in other ways as well.”

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Make this three-in-one tool a part of your client’s next promotion. The magnetic bottle opener coaster has a strong magnetic back that holds to any metal surface and a strong metal jaw to easily open bottles. The large imprint area gives your client maximum ad exposure.

Beacon Promotions, Inc.   /   PPAI 113702, S10   /   www.beaconpromotions.com

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Make the perfect cup of tea with the Aviana™ Cambridge Tea For One Set. Available in black or speckle, this clever set fits right in at homes or offices. Designed as a space‐saver, the silicone ring helps to keep the set neatly stacked away when not in use. With a stainless-steel infuser for brewing loose tea, this 12-ounce mug and 17-ounce teapot are top-rack dishwasher safe. Remove the silicone ring and the metal infuser before microwaving or dishwashing.

Gemline  /  PPAI 113948, S11  /  www.gemline.com

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Ideal for an office desk or a walk across campus, this 18-ounce Thermos® tumbler has vacuum insulation technology for maximum temperature retention, keeping drinks cold for hours. Its double wall, stainless-steel construction with a removable straw keeps iced coffee, smoothies and juices flowing for max enjoyment and easy cleaning. A unique exterior resists fingerprints and is sweat-proof. The cup and straw are both dishwasher-safe.

 

SnugZ USA  /  PPAI 112982, S10  /  www.snugzusa.com

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The Anchor™ is a universal non-tipping cup holder designed to secure your favorite cup or drinkware container and anchor it to any smooth surface. This portable cup holder will keep your drink from getting knocked over in almost any situation. To use, simply set the Anchor down and insert your favorite cup. The Anchor securely fits all popular 16-ounce to 32-ounce tumbler cup brands and most insulated water canteens.

TD Fischer  /  PPAI 798125, S3  /  www.tdfischer.com

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Leave the juggling act behind with the Hitch Bottle and Cup. This full size, dishwasher-safe water bottle has a removable, barista-approved cup hidden inside. With three ways to carry this bottle, recipients will always have a free hand. This two-in-one product with lock-in technology offers a solution for carrying hot coffee and cold water together.

The Allen Company  /  PPAI 113879, S5  /  www.allenmugs.com

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Delight recipients with the practical and visually appealing Epare Double-Wall Champagne Glass. This set of two, five-ounce double-wall champagne flutes are durable and heat-resistant. The double-wall design creates a dramatic optical illusion, prevents condensation and offers a rounded rim for comfortable drinking of chilled and hot beverages. These glasses will keep drinks cold or hot for longer periods of time, while the outer glass remains at room temperature. 

Visions  /  PPAI 110751, S8  /  www.visionsawards.com

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Help clients stand out with bottle and can labels. The label is essential to the can or bottle, expressing the brand’s image and the content’s information and flavor. For those who love drinking straight from the bottle or can, a unique label will be memorable. Unique labels create a visual reference that will be instantly recognizable for repeat purchases. Businesses like breweries and wineries can personalize their seasonal drinks with can and bottle labels.

Label Works  /  PPAI 111141  /  www.labelworks.com

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This 20-ounce Viking® Nova Tumbler comes in a variety of colors and keeps beverages at just the right temperature for hours. This item features full-color digital personalization for a one-of-a-kind item that recipients can keep and appreciate for years to come. Or choose to laser-etch a design directly onto the tumbler instead. With the double-wall vacuum construction and copper lining, recipients can enjoy their beverage just the way they like it.

Crown/IMAGEN Brands  /  PPAI 113430, S10  /  www.IMAGENBrands.com

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With precision laser-engraving, this extra-large 17-ounce double-wall stainless steel Glamping Tall mug will stand out in a crowd. This mug has a durable powder-coated exterior for a soft grip and matte finish and features a clear plastic sip-top lid. Vacuum-insulated, the Glamping mug can be used for hot and cold beverages, keeping drinks hot for up to eight hours and cold for up to 16 hours. This product is Prop 65-compliant and BPA-free.

Goldstar  /  PPAI 114031, S10  /  www.goldstarpens.com

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With a sleek and classic design, the Perka® Dashing is a 20-ounce, double-wall stainless steel bottle. The powder-coated finished botted is vacuum-sealed with a copper lining that’s comfortable to hold while keeping cold drinks cold for 24 hours and hot drinks hot for 12 hours. This bottle has a screw-top lid with a form-fitting, hinged steel handle. Fitting in most car cup holders, recipients can take the bottle to work or the beach, easily fitting it into a bag, purse or backpack.

Logomark  /  PPAI 110898, S12  /  www.logomark.com

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With a stylish and functional design, this cork bottom travel tumbler is made with durable stainless steel. This tumbler has a double wall construction, preserving the temperature of cold and hot drinks longer, and comes with a clear acrylic screw-on lid with a colored slide closure to keep the contents safely inside. This travel tumbler is available in black, gray, blue and white, with a powder coat finish for a sleek matte look. Print or engrave your client’s design to create a valued gift.

Gordon Sinclair  /  PPAI 111537, S4  /  www.gordonsinclair.com

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Kristina Valdez is associate editor of PPB. 

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