Branding As Governing: Evian

The branding of a product, whatever that may be, is inherently linked to forms of government. Not necessarily the government that runs a country, but rather governing actions that are to an end of influencing our behaviours as a society, dictating and shaping social relations.

Branding uses various discourses and practices to shape the behaviour of the consumer. Our relationship to products are always mediated through hidden power relations. Branding is a way of determining the choice of a consumer, attaching aspirations and value to a product, even if all products of different brands are fundamentally the same.

Evian water highlights the use of branding in constructing a value to something that is in fact, just a bottle of water.

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In its marketing, Evian uses natural imagery, pictures of mountains and valleys to imbue a sense of tranquillity and naturalness. Its well-known advert with the dancing babies is reinforcing this idea of purity, with the innocence of children. On their website they write, ‘our water travels to the source through layers of glacial rocks, it becomes enriched with a unique blend of minerals and electrolytes giving Evian its distinctive, cool, crisp taste. This protected underground journey in the heart of the French Alps has given Evian water its unique taste and mineral composition for over 200 years since Marquis first discovered it!’ By removing the narrative of a factory and production of the plastic bottles, (which would create a negative environmental sentiment towards the brands), Evian uses marketing to hide these power relations and instead create a sense of purity in order to add value to their product.

Science is also used in projecting this brand and underpinning the authenticity of their claims. Science is important in branding as it reinforces the added value that a commodity may claim to have, seeming more appealing to the consumer. For example, Evian claims that their ‘natural spring water contains only naturally occurring electrolytes from our unique origin.’ Consumers often read this and take this as given, when in fact it is a form of branding as governance, guiding us to subconsciously see Evian water as superior.

What is clear here is that branding is a way of subconsciously subverting the choices of society, by using mechanisms such as marketing and science to project the commodities added value. Perhaps, society as a whole should be more aware of there process, removing our naivety, and realising that at the end of the day, a bottle of water is a bottle of water!