Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2018

Dan Feldman
Public Water
Dan Feldman
Public Water

What makes us trust a brand? Is it design? Is it strategy? Is it clever humanistic copywriting? This line of questioning is the seed to the practice of branding. A new brand’s ability to immediately establish credibility within a market is the essence to that brand’s existence. As we dissect the practice of branding itself, we can recognize that luxury brands are able to convince consumers to buy a product more than a non-branded item could. Shedding light on a specific industry, bottling water is the sheer practice of taking what is otherwise a natural resource and transforming it into a commodity through branding alone.

The ugly truth is that water brands are able to command between 250 and 10,000 times markup for their bottled water, with most of the industry’s major brands being the same public water supply that comes out of the tap. Public Water Supply Co exists as a satire of the entire industry. This clean, sophisticated, and desirable luxury water brand is only a placebo. In fact, it is just tap water in disguise.

As an experiment to explore the relationship between brand and consumer, Public Water Supply Co is brought to life through packaging and a web experience. The bottles provide a glimpse into some of the industry truths nestled within the copy of the label. In a very sobering moment, the brand completely breaks apart during the online checkout experience, revealing all of the facts about the industry.

Amanda Ericson
Anna Feng