The phrase "there’s a sucker born every minute" comes to mind upon hearing about one food vendor pitching an unusual product at the annual Car Free Day festival in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The tent selling unfiltered "Hot Dog Water" – literally a bottle of water with a wiener floating inside – for $37.99 a pop included some promising, if not dubious, claims such as helping consumers not only lose weight but also increase brain function, look younger and improve overall vitality.
Putting it that way, the cost doesn’t seem so bad after all!
As Douglas Bevans, the guy running the show, explained to Global News: "We’ve created a recipe, having a lot of people put a lot of effort into research and a lot of people with backgrounds in science really creating the best version of Hot Dog Water that we could."
As for how it actually works, "there’s a fair bit of it that is too science-y for me," Bevans told the news outlet. Still, he tried: "So the protein of the Hot Dog Water helps your body uptake the water content, and the sodium and the things you’d need post-workout."
Word of wiener water prompted one social-media poster to question who would be interesting in drinking the product, prompting another to tweet one logical reply of "My dog would!"
Sales of the water were brisk at the Sunday festival, according to Bevans, whose booth also offered accessories, such as Hot Dog Water lip balm and Hot Dog Water breath spray.
But what were consumers really being offered? A lesson, for those bothering to read the fine print at the bottom of his sign, which suggested he was conducting a piece of performance art, of sorts: "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," it read.
Making clear that not everyone has time much less the eyesight to read the small print, one fairgoer tweeted: "The 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."
The Hot Dog Water idea came as commentary on what Bevans, a tour operator by trade as well as an artist, called the "health-quackery product market."