Armani’s Acqua di Gio shows its social responsibility. Or does it?

The latest buzz in the beauty and grooming world appears to be about Armani’s new Acqua For Life campaign. Indeed, many of my colleagues can barely contain their excitement for an initiative that aims to provide a minimum of 40 million litres of drinking water to those without.

The campaign is simple. In a nutshell, the company will  donate 100 litres of drinking water to people who otherwise wouldn’t have any clean safe water, for every purchase of Acqua di Gio or Acqua di Gioia – two fragrances ‘inherently in harmony with this theme’. What’s more, you can double your contribution by joining a special Facebook page and entering a code from your purchase.

What could be simpler? Or more rewarding? You get a little luxury, people who consider fresh water a little luxury get something and Armani reinvigorate their brand, shift a few extra units, get lots of pats on the back for ‘social responsibility’ and a Facebook page with tens of thousands of followers spreading the word – the word being ‘Acqua di Gio’.

Before you have a pop at me for being a cynical old misery guts I should point out two things: 1. I think it’s a really good cause and b. I actually love the brand and in particular Acqua di Gio, which is a true classic when it comes to men’s fragrance). It’s just that I’m left thinking the company could have made things even simpler by just announcing they were donating a whole load of water as a thank you to their loyal customers.

In fairness, Hugo Boss did exactly the same kind of campaign last year with limited edition fragrances (co-incidentally of old classics that needed a bit of a ‘push’) that enabled you to plant trees and I was fairly ambivalent about that too. I mean, what next? Will Thierry Mugler be offering free prayers for the needy with limited edition ‘winged’ bottles of Angel?  Yes, I’m offering a counter-view. Yes, I’m being cynical and yes, I know initiatives like this are  better than doing nothing but sometimes I like to say it as I see it rather than how I’m expected to see it. Know what I mean?

The limited edition Acqua for Life fragrance is available exclusively in Harrods from May but if you want to contribute without buying you can I believe (see below for instructions).

Here is how you can collect water without purchase:
If you have a Facebook account, go to http://apps.facebook.com/acquaforlifebyarmani You will land on the welcome page of the application. You then have the choice to log in with a code or without a code.
If you do not have the fragrance, you can chose to join someone else’s community. Just search by country of origin (on the tab on the left-hand side called “all statistics” and then chose you country from the drop down menu at the top.
When you join a community, it adds 10 litres of water to this community (and then to the general amount collected!). Then, every time you share a video or an image, or like a post, it collects more litres of water.

Anyone interested in providing fresh drinking water and sanitation for developing countries can also donate via organisations like Wateraid and The Water Project.


2 thoughts on “Armani’s Acqua di Gio shows its social responsibility. Or does it?

  1. I kind of agree initially but can’t help reflecting it’s a business rather than a charity so they have a legal responsibility to their shareholders. And this is a business doing something rather than nothing.

  2. Iain Marley

    I agree 100% – I find it a continually sickening statistic that something like every 8 seconds, a child dies due to lack of access to clean drinking water. It’s unacceptable. Rather sad that 6 years after the “Make Poverty History” campaign to write off debts of developing nations and for the governments of this world to unilaterally declare that children dying of lack of access to clean water and of malaria etc, that we’re still having this debate.

    It is admirable that Armani are drawing attention to this issue – however one can’t help but feel “the fragrance that cares” sounds rather hollow in this day and age. There are far wider, broad ranging issues – and I’m afraid purchasing fragrance isn’t going to directly solve anything in the long term, sadly.

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