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Master Kong apologizes for misleading advertisement

Chinese Business View
September 4, 2008

The Hong-Kong-listed food & beverage manufacturer Master Kong recently got wrapped up in a scandal over a misleading advertisement.

The company boasted in a TV commercial that its mineral water, sold here in Beijing for 1.5 yuan a bottle, was made of "high-quality water source" (优质水源). It turned out that the so-called "high-quality water source" is no more than plain tap water that you have to boil before you can drink it safely.

Today's Chinese Business View reported that on September 2, Master Kong apologized to the public, saying that the company "didn't make it clear enough and has caused misunderstanding among its customers."

The affair started in July with a post on Tianya, a popular forum. In the post, the author gave a description of the factory with details that disgusted many readers. The author concluded that Master Kong's factory in Hangzhou must use the tap water because it is nowhere near any natural water source, except the polluted Qiantan River.

The post soon drew a lot of responses, most of which expressed anger at Master Kong for fooling them into believing that the water was actually from some natural source, or at least something better than tap water. Others discussed which bottled water brand is the best in the market. One post suggested that Nongfu Spring was the the best:

I am a university student studying chemistry. According to the experiments I did with my professor, Nongfu Spring is the best.

The post was republished by many other forums, and probably led Master Kong to cease using the term "high-quality water source" in its commercial on August 7. The company has also redesigned the packaging of its products.

There had been suspicion that Master Kong's competitor Nongfu Spring was behind it all. An article in Southern Daily supported this view. According to the article, bottled water retailers in Shenzhen have received pamphlets from Nongfu Spring's sales team detailing the incident. And during the past two months, sales of Master Kong have declined. But Nongfu Spring denied such charges.

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There are currently 8 Comments for Master Kong apologizes for misleading advertisement.

Comments on Master Kong apologizes for misleading advertisement

All bottled water is a ripoff, whether it comes from a magical mountain spring or a high-quality filter in Shenzhen. I wouldn't buy it if the tap water were safe.

Not necessarily. It depends on your tastes: there's a Italian mineral water with diuretic properties that is just sublime. They're the supplier to the pope. With regards to tea, the water you're using is extremely important, and I believe in tea manuals they detail the type of water that goes with the type of tea.

With regards to Nongfu Spring; I prefer Wahaha to Nongfu. At times Nongfu can take on a bitter and mineral taste, I prefer my water transparent.

China's MLR announced back in 2003 that it planned to test bottled water. I don't remember seeing any tests results though so I guess they decided it was better to keep them under wraps.

A study a few years ago done by one of the embassies showed that Nongfu was pretty good. Also the one produced by Coca-Cola, there's was something about their processes being proven sterile.

The best bet is to do what the Chinese have done for thousands of years--stick to the tried and true kai shui. Or better yet, do what I do and just drink Yanjing Pijiu all day.

Who cares about water when the headline says Russia Da Nu... I ROFLMAO...

Russia Da Nu!!!

LOL. That don't sound funny to no one else?

well, russia is angry, whats wrong with that?? they are angry.

but I still loled.

Well, the reason I loled is because it reminds me of something I read in three kingdoms. Like Cao Cao (not saying Russia is like Cao Cao. No politics. This is funny to me personally) Da Nu or something. Funny to me.

I wouldn't be surprised if Nongfu was truly the best- I would always buy that when I could because it tasted best. And I'm a disinterested commenter. Wahaha was also good though.

Inst: diuretic properties? So it makes you urinate more? Doesn't regular water cause enough of that?

My favorite water is that one supposedly bottled in Tibet (I forget the name) that not only comes in a plastic bottle, but a vacuum sealed bag as well--makes 10 kuai Evian seem practical by comparison.

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