In the last decade, two products making little sense but extracting exorbitant amounts of money from the bogan have proliferated on the shelves of Australian supermarkets. Item number one is water in a bottle. Although widely available from a tap for less than one two thousandth of the price, the bogan happily pays more for a litre of water than it does for a litre of petrol. Because it’s conveniently packaged in a shiny plastic bottle, and it has a brand.
The second is vitamins. Also in a bottle. Always looking for an easier but more expensive way of doing things, the bogan happily hands over $15-20 for a bottle of vitamin C, cold pressed fish oil or specially formulated emu’s knob, despite the fact that most of these vitamins and minerals are present in everyday fresh food items or offer only spurious nutrional benefit. Vitamin pills promising vague but appealing outcomes such as “vitality” appeal strongly to the hypochondriasis that many bogans selectively commandeer to attract attention. It should come as no surprise that the corporate junta’s latest assault on the bogan hip pocket should combine these two bogan-approved products.
Enter ‘functional water.’ Water that does shit. 2000 years after biblical literalists vow that water allowed an amazing prophet to walk on it, product marketers have risen to a god-like level by creating another amazing profit on it.
Not content with the astronomical profit margins and environmental damage incurred by bottled water, beverage manufacturers worked out that by adding red food colouring and supplements like ‘dragonfruit’ and ‘triple antioxidants,’ they could charge the bogan 4000 times the price of tap water.
With x-treme names like ‘power C’ and ‘triple X’ (there is a strong link between product names featuring the letter X, and popularity amongst bogans –see future entry) and promising seemingly magical properties, vitamin water promises the bogan incredible attributes such as endurance, power, and energy.
After finally gaining traction with its massive cans, the Coca Cola company is at the centre of the functional water heist. Its glacéau vitaminwater (replete with exotic Euro diacritic) product displays an alarming understanding of the bogan. The company has allocated some of the phenomenal profit margin to paying for product placement on Sex and the City, and getting bogan idols Jennifer Aniston and 50 cent to endorse its product. It has also created a pointless Facebook group for the product, which the bogan may join to construct its brand-based identity.
The outcome of all of this can be seen at your local gym, where the male bogan is getting huge next to the female bogan who is getting tiny. Both of them are proudly carrying a $4.50 bottle of brightly coloured and branded water, empowered by the fact that 0.3 ml of dragonfruit will make their bogan dreams come true.