“Hot Dog Water is the NEW coconut water!”
June 24, 2018 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Someone Sold Hot Dog Water for $28 at a Festival [Teen Vogue]literal bottles of water containing a single hot dog eachwhich were sold at the Car Free Day festival in Vancouver.
“But here's the not-so-fine print: it's all fake. As Global News reported, Hot Dog Water is really a stunt by artist and tour operator Douglas Bevans on how gullible people can be about unsubstantiated health claims. “It’s really sort of a commentary on product marketing, and especially sort of health-quackery product marketing," Douglas told Global News. It even says as much in Hot Dog Water's fine print, which reads, "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."”
posted by Fizz (58 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
In retrospect, that $6 asparagus water at Whole Foods was a bargain.
posted by greermahoney at 8:04 PM on June 24, 2018 [24 favorites]


I swear sometimes I just wanna smack some people
posted by darkstar at 8:06 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Vesihiisi at 8:08 PM on June 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


You just know that there are people who bought this and can totally feel that it works.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:11 PM on June 24, 2018 [11 favorites]


Tofurkey dog water for me thanks.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:12 PM on June 24, 2018 [9 favorites]


Is this what happens when you drink the beaker water?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:13 PM on June 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


Note that the labeling contains (U)P, a symbol which indicates the product inside is certified kosher, and specifically is kosher for Passover. While I assume the person who made this was just copying another bottle's label, that reads to me as an (accidentally) super disrespectful thing to include because it implies a specific external certification that clearly wasn't obtained. I'm guessing no observant Jews were tricked into buying it; I just wish people were more aware that incorporating that partiular symbol can actually be a real dick move.
posted by LSK at 8:13 PM on June 24, 2018 [32 favorites]


Well nobody says which brand of hotdogs were used, if they were Hebrew National then the water would still be kosher, right? In seriousness though, yeah you're right that it's a dick move to just copy symbols like that to make a product look authentic without thinking of what they actually mean.
posted by drinkyclown at 8:23 PM on June 24, 2018 [8 favorites]


I'm thinking I could save money and make my own hot dog water.
posted by lagomorphius at 8:27 PM on June 24, 2018 [11 favorites]


Every so often this sort of thing comes up, where the punchline is always, "oh my god, people will buy anything, they have too much money."

But how often are they actually interviewing the consumers? How many of these buyers decided that it'd make a hilarious gag gift, or perhaps even just a funny story for social media? I have to believe that most of the sales were to people who were 100% knowing marks, and not fools swiftly parted from their money.
posted by explosion at 8:29 PM on June 24, 2018 [16 favorites]


did they ask any of the people who bought it why they did? It seems like the sort of thing people would get as a joke, or on a dare, not because they believed in it's supposed health benefits?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:29 PM on June 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


I love you, Teen Vogue. Who would have thought that in 2018, a fashion magazine for teens would be putting out so much excellent journalism? Not even kidding.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:30 PM on June 24, 2018 [7 favorites]


This was actually a couple of blocks from me! My initial thought was that it was an annoying hipster prank, which turned out to not be entirely off the mark. But...there is a lot of health quackery around in Vancouver, while I didn't enjoy the way the point was made, it's probably a point worth making.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:32 PM on June 24, 2018 [6 favorites]


They might at least have sold it hot, delicious hot dog water soup.
posted by unliteral at 9:07 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


Sounds like a bargain.

I'm not joking at all.

28$ for a piece of internationally recognized art? That's a great deal. I'm a vegetarian and there's a good chance I would have bought it (zero chance I would have eaten/drank it).
posted by el io at 9:16 PM on June 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


My grandmother used to make gravy out of the water she boiled the kielbasa in. And, this will piss off any true German or Polish person, but a sausage is a sausage is a sausage.

I mean.... water with some salts and fats in it ? WTF do they think is in Gatorade or Tailwind or HEED or Nuun or.... well, gravy ?

Maybe I'm biased, because I'll cheerfully eat KFC gravy like a soup, but HotDog water doesn't seem so stupid on its face to me.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:16 PM on June 24, 2018 [3 favorites]


As far as lazy, obvious pranks go, this one sits just north of a teenager drawing dicks on subway posters and a bit south of whatever it is the Yes Men are probably up to these days. I'd like to see some verifiable sales data, though, because I absolutely do not believe the artist's claim of
“They’ve been drinking it for hours... We have gone through about 60 litres of real hot dog water"

At least the packaging was done well.
posted by item at 9:19 PM on June 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


I don't like these "experiments" where people make great efforts to deceive people and then laugh at them for being deceived; As if they are the fools for trusting another person at their word. I think it is the liar that should be ashamed, not their marks.
posted by Hicksu at 9:30 PM on June 24, 2018 [11 favorites]


> Hicksu:
"I don't like these "experiments" where people make great efforts to deceive people and then laugh at them for being deceived; As if they are the fools for trusting another person at their word. I think it is the liar that should be ashamed, not their marks."

I am going to agree to disagree. I see way too many people happily following up on a "trend" without doing ANY research. As part of this, I attest to my time working in a meat department. Nothing like being asked if a New York Strip or London Broil are gluten free because they didn't stop to look at the labels stating it was gluten-free. I pick gluten because I know of virtually no one (without a medical need) that even knows what gluten even is or can give me a good reason not to eat it.
posted by Samizdata at 9:35 PM on June 24, 2018 [11 favorites]


My first thought was Scooby Doo, but I realize that might just be me.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:36 PM on June 24, 2018 [2 favorites]


Although, looking at the photos and fine print more. It seems more likely that people were buying it out of either novelty and/or to support the artist.
posted by Hicksu at 9:45 PM on June 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


You just know that there are people who bought this and can totally feel that it works.

The Placebo Effect is quite powerful, especially for something as nebulous as general well-being.

So it’s likely that the drinking the bottle of water delivered exactly as advertised. Which makes the whole stunt kind of pointless.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:10 PM on June 24, 2018


My first thought when reading the headline: but what about the chocolate starfish?
posted by nickthetourist at 10:16 PM on June 24, 2018 [14 favorites]


Well nobody says which brand of hotdogs were used, if they were Hebrew National then the water would still be kosher, right?

That wouldn't be the case for two reasons:

First, the product wasn't prepared under kosher supervision, so even if it uses kosher ingredients, that doesn't make the final result kosher.

But second, and much trickier: Hebrew National is certified with a triangle-K, not a (U) - the Orthodox Union, or OU for short (hence the symbol) doesn't certify them and a lot of religious Jews won't eat them because they view the manufacturer as not fully observing the kosher slaughtering process. An (U) would be inaccurate.

I say this not to be pedantic but to drive home that this is a symbol that carries a meaning that people use, and that ends up tying in with the intended point of the product here. The artist's using this product to say that people are willing to believe vague new-agey claims of health over studying the facts - and yet here is a symbol being used that's loaded with specific, factual meaning and its misuse implies an endorsement that the product does not have. I don't think that undermines his intent, but it just feels gross, y'know?
posted by LSK at 10:46 PM on June 24, 2018 [18 favorites]




Speaking as a Jew: no, I don't think there's something exceptionally "gross" about a tiny OU symbol showing up in a work of art which replicates a commercial label. It's not a holy symbol. You're overthinking a plate of kitniyos, and trying to drum up a controversy solely on the association with Judaism -- but every symbol "carries a meaning." Unless many actual observant Jews were fooled by that, which I really highly doubt, then you should drop this line of shit-stirring already, because that's what feels a little gross to me.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:21 AM on June 25, 2018 [27 favorites]


And what the real point of this stunt? Surely anyone who would pay $28 for a single cold hot dog has either got too much money or is as gullible as it is possible to be.

What it really proves is that any gathering contains some people with more money than sense. Just like this thread demonstrates that there's always one person who can get self-righteous about anything.
posted by epo at 2:59 AM on June 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


I read this early this morning while still half asleep and then went back to bed and when I remembered it after waking up properly I assumed it was some dream misunderstanding/hallucination. But no.
posted by cilantro at 3:17 AM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


The irony is that hot dog water is probably a healthier alternative to crap like Gatorade or SmartWater.
posted by xammerboy at 3:21 AM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


> xammerboy:
"The irony is that hot dog water is probably a healthier alternative to crap like Gatorade or SmartWater."

SmartWater is just mineral enhanced water?
posted by Samizdata at 3:36 AM on June 25, 2018


“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.”

-Frank Zappa
posted by Splunge at 4:10 AM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but coconut water isn't just water, it's liquid extracted from a fruiting body.

The best coconut water is the stuff you get when you go up to a street vendor in Malaysia or Indonesia and they pull out a fresh coconut (not the hairy brown-husked stuff you see sold in the west) and a giant cleaver, whack a hole in the top, and hand it to you with a drinking straw. Failing that, the coconut water sold in cartons here bears the same relationship to the real thing that reconstituted orange juice from pulp/concentrate bears to juicing the orange yourself ... but it's not drinking water all the same:it's a fruit juice.

Gaah! English and it's failure modes.
posted by cstross at 5:04 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking I could save money and make my own hot dog water.

Woah now! Check your privilege water level there.
posted by srboisvert at 5:09 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing no observant Jews were tricked into buying it.

I'm guessing no observant PEOPLE gave it a try.
posted by delfin at 5:12 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


They might at least have sold it hot, delicious hot dog water soup.

I prefer hot ham water.
posted by duffell at 5:28 AM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Gaah! English and it's failure modes.

Meta
posted by achrise at 5:38 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Gah, morning indignation-commenting before caffeine and it's its failure modes!
posted by cstross at 5:54 AM on June 25, 2018


I say this not to be pedantic but to drive home that this is a symbol that carries a meaning that people use, and that ends up tying in with the intended point of the product here. The artist's using this product to say that people are willing to believe vague new-agey claims of health over studying the facts - and yet here is a symbol being used that's loaded with specific, factual meaning and its misuse implies an endorsement that the product does not have. I don't think that undermines his intent, but it just feels gross, y'know?

My experience with Kosher for Passover certification is somewhat different, and suggests that if the point of the hot dog water was to point out uncritical acceptance of new-agey specious claims for product superiority, the point of the certification might be to point out uncritical acceptance of similar, but much older, specious claims for product superiority.

You point out that the symbol here indicates certification by Orthodox Union, but it's also the case that Kosher for Passover certification can be purchased from a competing commercial concern, Circle K Kosher. While both companies are supposed to be confirming that certified products are prepared according to the dictates of Jewish dietary law, my experience reflected more a concern with certifying products that provided a continuing revenue stream for the company that awarded the label.

Specifically, OU would not certify as Kosher for Passover any products which used ingredients certified as Kosher by Circle K. This had nothing to do with any specific facts about the ingredients themselves.

And while Kosher certification per se may have a specific factual meaning, the food production company I worked for--which produced Kosher chocolates on a year-round basis--received Kosher for Passover certification by paying a large hourly rate to have a rabbi on premises during the production run of those products. That seems closer to vague new-agey claims than any relevant factual information about the nature of quality of the product bearing the mark.
posted by layceepee at 5:54 AM on June 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


Layceepee why would they accept a different certifier's word for it when they believe their own standards are stricter? It would seem fraudulent if they did allow ingredients on the say-so of a less stringent certification.
posted by Easy problem of consciousness at 6:15 AM on June 25, 2018


Layceepee why would they accept a different certifier's word for it when they believe their own standards are stricter? It would seem fraudulent if they did allow ingredients on the say-so of a less stringent certification.

Nothing in my experience suggested they had any concern about whether the other certifiers standards were less strict. In theory, the rabbi hired to supervise production during Kosher for Passover was supposed to do more than show up and collect a check, but in practice he didn't. So I'm skeptical the failure to accept ingredients certified by others had any motive other than a commercial one.
posted by layceepee at 6:24 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is definitely bedroom talk.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:27 AM on June 25, 2018


The best coconut water is the stuff you get when you go up to a street vendor in Malaysia or Indonesia and they pull out a fresh coconut (not the hairy brown-husked stuff you see sold in the west)

Hey! Don't coconut-shame me!
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:37 AM on June 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


Considering what Vancouverites think a house is worth this grift was inevitable.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:18 AM on June 25, 2018


People, I'd bet money that the Kosher certification logo was part of the joke.

I mean, LSK writes:

The artist's using this product to say that people are willing to believe vague new-agey claims of health over studying the facts - and yet here is a symbol being used that's loaded with specific, factual meaning and its misuse implies an endorsement that the product does not have.

But somehow doesn't see that that's the point: this is a "product" covered in false or outrageous claims that people are uncritically accepting.
posted by Sangermaine at 7:25 AM on June 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


Interestingly, in some states, like NY, it is illegal to mark a food as kosher or kosher for passover unless the manufacturer or distributor has registered the contact information of the entity providing the hechsher with the state. There would probably be a First Amendment issue in going after an obvious parody, though. I think there's only a problem if there's an intent to deceive or a reasonable likelihood that deception would occur. A hechsher's not a holy symbol, and thank goodness, with some of the shenanigans that go on with the certifying organizations.
posted by praemunire at 8:19 AM on June 25, 2018


But how often are they actually interviewing the consumers? How many of these buyers decided that it'd make a hilarious gag gift, or perhaps even just a funny story for social media? I have to believe that most of the sales were to people who were 100% knowing marks, and not fools swiftly parted from their money.
posted by explosion


I think this is the case here, but then it begs an even more vexing question. Rather than amazement that Vancouver (and esp. Commercial) is filled with rubes willing to part with cash in exchange for dubious health quackery, is the question of who would part with $28.00 in order to make a middling joke? Seriously, if you are so desperate for laughs that you are willing to spend 30 bucks for a mild chuckle from your companions, you need immediate help (and less easily amused friends.)

Then again, if Banksy was selling hot dog water we'd all line up to participate in the next level genius.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:22 AM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think I come down on the side of it's fundamentally wrong to mis-label food or drink, even as a statement, even to stupid or gullible people. If it was a fake label for a pencil or vagina egg sure, parody away, but if somebody's gonna eat what you're selling you can't just put random symbols on it for effect if those symbols actually mean something.
posted by stillnocturnal at 8:34 AM on June 25, 2018


Yeah....I think I'm all done with people who think that adding to the amount of bogus information and bullshit out there is a great way to draw attention to how much bogus information and bullshit is out there.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:06 AM on June 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


did they ask any of the people who bought it why they did?

My friend, who was at the festival, mentioned that the people he saw buying the water were doing it for a laugh. He didn't think anyone was taking it too seriously. There was a guy in a vinyl hot dog costume after all.

That wouldn't be the case for two reasons

I think there is a third reason - I don't think they sell Hebrew Nationals up here (I could be wrong) at least I've never seen them. I guess they could have gone over the border and bought some but I don't think they put that much effort into it.

And what the real point of this stunt?

Have you been Vancouver? If not this is what passes for art and/or satire there.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:33 AM on June 25, 2018


SmartWater is just mineral enhanced water?

I think I meant VitaminWater, which has sugar, caffeine, an unhealthy dose of a bunch of vitamins, etc. Apologies to SmartWater.
posted by xammerboy at 9:49 AM on June 25, 2018


Holy shirt I just googled "raw water" and that is a thing.

What.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:53 AM on June 25, 2018


The number of people upset over hot dog water convinces me that hot dog water is something that makes the world a better place. If only a tiny bit.
posted by eotvos at 10:00 AM on June 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm thinking I could save money and make my own hot dog water.

They did actually include instructions for making your own hot dog water on the handout, which I thought was a nice touch.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:26 AM on June 25, 2018


I'm ashamed to admit I used to simply pour my hot dog water down the drain.

On a serious note, the problem with this healthy drink crap is not so much that it's fooling people into thinking it's healthy, but that a lot of it so much more unhealthy than one might assume. Sugared water has literally kickstarted a global healthcare crisis. I don't know if anyone remembers SunnyDelight, but it was marketed as a health drink orange juice substitute, and some massive number of kids in Ireland ended up with rotten teeth. On the one hand its hard to believe anyone falls for the marketing, but in reality huge numbers of people buy into it. There really should be a law that you can't market something as healthy that isn't, but the science seems to change on an almost daily basis. I've even had doctors recommend I make ridiculous dietary changes or take unnecessary vitamins.
posted by xammerboy at 10:26 AM on June 25, 2018


These are not that, but previously and previouslier.
posted by mwhybark at 10:33 AM on June 25, 2018


I'm just relieved that I wasn't the only one to think of Limp Bizkit.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:26 PM on June 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm a Vancouverite and think this is all kinds of stupid, but when I first heard about this I applauded the guy for pointing out the all kinds of stupid that's floating around.

Also, I second the absurd use of an absurd "certification" - far too often shady organizations claim certs that they haven't actually received, or just makes up real-sounding completely-fake "certifications."

/r/vancouver was generally supportive of this stunt, fwiw re:lol stupid trend sheep and generally uncritical people

Pogo_Fuzzybutt - re: sausage water -> gravy - fascinating! That makes perfect sense (from a peasant food perspective, which I respect and sometimes practice), but it also assumes that time is cheap and fuel/ energy to reduce the raw sausage water is not limiting.

I can't believe that I've been making milk gravy (or when lazy using powdered) for perogies+sausage instead of rendering the sausage water down as stock.

Oddly, I've heard of "famous chefs" advocating using pasta water as a thickener for pasta sauces but that's weird and chemically stochastically nonsensical to my brain.
posted by porpoise at 7:39 PM on June 25, 2018


Just reminds me of "hot ham water."

I remember when $28 meant several meals for me . . .
posted by aspersioncast at 9:50 AM on June 26, 2018


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