A company in West Virginia is taking an interesting stab at the drinking water market by offering ad supported drinking water kiosks on college campuses.

The company, evive, provides schools with free water filling kiosks and free water bottles for students. The kiosks play ads to a presumably captive audience while the machine cleans and refills the bottle. Correction. Students can “Enjoy your customized content on the high definition screen while your bottle is sanitized and filled.”

They collect student names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and social media information from students in exchange for . . . free water.


The best dude in this video is the guy holding the soda while in the evive line.

This is an interesting concept. If it leads to students replacing some of their soda habits with water, that’s probably a good thing for their health and debt load. Of course, the ads could have the opposite effect depending on what’s advertised.

What I don’t like about this is that it gives the impression that there is something wrong with the drinking water in the drinking fountains and faucets around campus. Maybe things are different in West Virginia than they are in Minnesota, but students will do just fine refilling a water bottles using ad-free faucets located all around campus.

Bottled watered companies have worked hard to convince people that water in a bottle is somehow superior to water from a tap. While evive isn’t charging students $1 bottle of water, directly, for putting the public’s water in their ad supported bottle, is it a good value for the public if students are lead to believe that tap water is inferior water?

That said, things appear to be off to a good start for evive as the founders’ alma mater, WVU, with 4,000 registered users through May:

Is this a fad or the start of a new healthy habit? With $2 million in funding, evive and their investors seem to think students will keep coming back for more water and ads.

Assuming ad supported water isn’t your thing (or available in your area yet, if it is your thing) one thing that I’ve gotten into recently is using an Ello bottle for drinking water. It’s a 20oz glass bottle with a rubber case. It’s not like I didn’t have any water bottles already, but this one has become my new favorite by far.

Why?

- The water tastes better when drank out of glass.
- The mouth on the bottle is a good size for drinking compared to say, a Nalgene bottle.
- It doesn’t use a sports spray nozzle. Those are convenient when biking, but I find that I drink more water when I don’t have to squeeze it out of the bottle.
- It fits into cup holders (unlike larger Nalgene bottles).
- The cap twists off, but doesn’t take a ton of twists to twist off.
- The hoop in the cap (and bottle’s girth) make convenient to carry.

Those are a lot of small things. But they add up to build a better bottle.