If you’re at a street festival on a sunny June day, it’s likely you’ll run into a hot dog vendor and a water vendor. But how about a “Hot Dog Water” vendor, selling bottles of the bizarre product for $37.99 a pop? True story, dog, and it happened Sunday at the Main Street Car Free Day here in Vancouver.
Sold in individual clear bottles — perfect for seeing that whole hot dog in each one — the Hot Dog Water stand was set up on Main Street around 16th, and it attracted a lot of attention. The question was: Could this be for real?
Those of us who lived through the Whole Foods Asparagus Water scandal of 2015 have come to be an odd combination of skeptical and accepting of water loaded with lots of promises. This Hot Dog Water came with a lot of science-y buzzwords, too, such as “electrolyte imbalance,” “homeostasis,” “autophagy,” “metabolic demand” and “carbohydrate restrictors.”
“The drink’s impressive marketing advertises it as gluten-free, Keto diet-compatible, rich in sodium and a source of electrolytes,” points out Global News. “It also promises to help the drinker lose weight, increase brain function and look younger.”
Hot Dog Water definitely had folks intrigued, and confused:
“This booth that sells unfiltered hot dog water is hands down the strangest thing at Car-Free day, and I have no idea — literally none — as to whether it is real or an elaborate stunt,” tweeted one passer-by.
And the answer is: Stunt.
If you get all the way to the fine print, you’ll find this: “HOT DOG WATER IN ITS ABSURDITY HOPES TO ENCOURAGE CRITICAL THINKING RELATED TO PRODUCT MARKETING AND THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE IT CAN PLAY IN OUR PURCHASING CHOICES.”
According to one Car Free Day attendee who stopped by the booth, the pseudo-vendor called what he was doing “foodie trolling.”
The best booth at Car Free Day. Someone was doing a food trolling booth featuring hot dog flavoured water. It's a joke but people thought that it was real. The guy at the booth said that we were the first to immediately realize that this was foodie trolling. #CarFreeDayVancouver #CarFreeDay #carfreedaymainst
Global unveiled the vendor as Douglas Bevans, who wanted to offer “a commentary on product marketing, and especially sort of health-quackery product marketing,” he told the news station.
Despite the price tag, several people bought — and consumed — the Hot Dog Water, though at the end of the day, the venture was not profitable. But it did have Vancouverites talking.