Smartwater advertising on filthy Gowanus Canal

Isn’t it ironic?: This new ad for super filtrated water on the Gowanus Canal has locals laughing about its ironic placement on the heavily polluted waterway.
Brooklyn Paper
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So refreshing!

Coca-Cola is advertising its trendy Smartwater brand of bottled H2O with a giant billboard above the notoriously filthy Gowanus Canal, and the juxtaposition has neighbors cracking up.

“It’s a stupid place for it,” said Michael Greisch, who lives in Carroll Gardens and burst out laughing upon noticing the curiously placed ad.

The advertisement for the brand’s new sparkling water — featuring an image of a giant bottle and the slogans “up up up” and “bring the bubbly” — went up over the sludgy span across from the Whole Foods Market on Third Avenue and Third Street in November.

The location isn’t any sort of comment on Brooklyn’s Nautical Purgatory — which is riddled with gonorrhea and the carcasses of the dolphins, whales, and goslings who met their untimely demise in its murky depths — according to the beverage company. It selected the spot simply because its target 18–34 demographic resides in Carroll Gardens and nearby Whole Foods is one of its partners, a flack said.

“There isn’t a connection between the placement and the ‘condition of the canal,’ ” said a spokeswoman for the soft-drink company.

Still, the brand that boasts its water is so clean that it is “pure and crisp, like from a cloud” probably could have thought things through a little better before promoting their product over the most polluted waterway in the country, said one local.

“It’s kind of ironic, it makes you question the vision” said George Bixby, a Gowanus resident.

Perhaps the multinational company should consider splashing some cash to help clean the environment instead of polluting it with more advertising, suggested one civic-minded citizen.

“We should spend more money on cleaning up the canal than ads for Smartwater,” said Cobble Hillian Vicky Vinton.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: The sign went up in November, not December. But the important part is that we noticed it in December.
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Reasonable discourse

Pops from Bay Ridge says:
So what's the progress on Gowanus' clean-up?
Dec. 29, 2016, 2:26 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Ha! Somebody cracks themselves up.
Dec. 29, 2016, 5:31 pm
Penny Cillen says:
A body of water riddled with gonorhea, you say?Ironically, Coca Cola kills gonorhea. Dating Smartwater drinkers ups the odds that you'd catch it. So, this ad campaign is a wash.
Dec. 29, 2016, 9:49 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I couldn't care less about this billboard and what it has due with the Gowanus Canal, plus I don't drink bottled water to begin with especially since I drink tap water only in that it's all natural and has more nutrients than what any bottled water has.
Dec. 30, 2016, 4:53 pm
Matt from Williamsburg says:
Did you forget it's across from a Whole Foods that sells the product, or do you think people only notice the canal?
Jan. 9, 2017, 2:45 pm

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