Fiji Water’s Tall Tales

Flickr user<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/edyson/1106733572/#/">esther dyson</a>/Creative Commons

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Yesterday, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark posted this interview he did with Fiji Water co-owner Lynda Resnick on the Huffington Post. (Picture of Newmark and Resnick at left.) Newmark wrote he was looking for some storytelling advice. He went to the right person. Resnick told him: 

We have so much competition in the marketplace that if you don’t have a real, truthful story behind your product or service, it simply won’t be sustainable… Brands that are transparent, authentic and honest rise above their competition… Consumers want to feel good about the products and services they are buying and using.

Resnick’s “authentic and honest” is a bit rich, given that Mother Jones and many other media outlets have repeatedly criticized Fiji Water for rampant greenwashing and supporting Fiji’s military junta. Just last month, the company was sued for false advertising: Though Fiji Water is touted as “carbon-negative” on billboards, it uses a “forward crediting” model to take credit now for offsets that won’t happen until 2037, if ever.

Resnick explained to Newmark that telling a story is “one of the best ways to establish a sense of trust with your consumers…but remember, you can’t make it up it has to be real.” Resnick can keep telling stories. Here at Mother Jones, we’ll keep it real. For more truthtelling on Fiji Water, see Anna Lenzer’s excellent 2009 investigative feature on the company here.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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