RonAmok!

The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.

A few months ago, my friend Rob at countdowntofifty.com leaned over his cup of coffee and described his latest fixation–Arrowhead’s addition of a convenient new handle to its 5-gallon water bottle. The handle itself wasn’t the problem, its the design that bothered him–specifically the fact that the handle encroached into the container, leading Rob to question the new bottle’s capacity.

He looked on the Arrowhead website. He searched Google. When he didn’t find what he was looking for, he called Arrowhead directly. The confident customer service rep on the other end of the call assured him that the new bottles still held five gallons, pointing out that the handle was hollow so it held water too.

But Rob wasn’t convinced. As I munched on my breakfast bagel, he described an experiment that the customer service rep suggested: to pour five 1-gallon Arrowhead bottles of water into one of the new 5-gallon versions. Before our breakfast was over, Rob decided to record the experiment and I offered to play cameraman for him.

The experiment’s conclusion matched Rob’s intuition: Five 1-gallon Arrowhead bottles of water didn’t fit into the company’s new 5-gallon container. There were 10 ounces of water left over!

The reason that I’m telling this story has less to do with the experiment and more to do with the online results. Before Rob published his video, he could find nothing about the new design on Google. After publishing it, however, the video holds the #2 spot in a Google search for “Arrowhead 5 gallon.”

Inquisitive minds are starting to find it. Two days ago, Rob’s video got its first comment:

This is priceless! My husband & I just got our Arrowhead delivery last week and wondered the same exact thing. I being the more cynical one said, “if I find there’s not exactly 5 gallons in there, we’re switching to Sparklets”. I’ve been too busy to investigate & now you’ve saved me the time…glad I Googled my suspicions first 🙂
Great job & very entertaining to boot!

Google is your company’s reputation manager. What happens when someone Google’s their suspicions about your products or services?

Photo Credit: tom.arthur

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Filed under: Mini Case Studies

Comments

Great post, Ron! Very entertaining.

I wonder how long it will take Arrowhead to either fix their 5-gal jug or lower their prices to customers. I bet the Arrowhead finance folks are cranking on the financial models now.

The world is quickly becoming ours. Oh, the mighty power of the printing press on steroids.

Ken Wetherell
April 15, 2009

Great post, Ron! Very entertaining.

I wonder how long it will take Arrowhead to either fix their 5-gal jug or lower their prices to customers. I bet the Arrowhead finance folks are cranking on the financial models now.

The world is quickly becoming ours. Oh, the mighty power of the printing press on steroids.

Ken Wetherell
April 14, 2009

Seems to me what you should have done is measured the amount of water the new bottle design held, not how many smaller bottles you could pour into the larger one. How do you know that both sizes are holding their specified amount?

The best way to answer your question would be to simply measure the amount of water from several of the new bottles. I say measure several so you can compensate for normal variances.

You could be getting more than 5 gal of water with either container, or you could have been getting less than 5 gal, even in the old design bottle.

My guess is that all the bottles come with slightly more than the amount printed on their labels, but you never know.

Would like to see you retest and hear the results.

Robert Jensen
April 20, 2009

Seems to me what you should have done is measured the amount of water the new bottle design held, not how many smaller bottles you could pour into the larger one. How do you know that both sizes are holding their specified amount?

The best way to answer your question would be to simply measure the amount of water from several of the new bottles. I say measure several so you can compensate for normal variances.

You could be getting more than 5 gal of water with either container, or you could have been getting less than 5 gal, even in the old design bottle.

My guess is that all the bottles come with slightly more than the amount printed on their labels, but you never know.

Would like to see you retest and hear the results.

Robert Jensen
April 20, 2009

@Robert

Actually the best way to do this is exactly as I did -which was to do exactly what Arrowhead Water’s customer service rep said would be the proper test: five one gallon jugs poured into the five gallon jug.

Here a thought: you do the retest your way. You can video it, edit it, post it and leave a link so we can read about it.

Rob
April 20, 2009

@Robert

Actually the best way to do this is exactly as I did -which was to do exactly what Arrowhead Water’s customer service rep said would be the proper test: five one gallon jugs poured into the five gallon jug.

Here a thought: you do the retest your way. You can video it, edit it, post it and leave a link so we can read about it.

Rob
April 20, 2009

He needs to do the same test on the old bottle because maybe it also held less than 5 gallons.

skeptical
April 26, 2009

He needs to do the same test on the old bottle because maybe it also held less than 5 gallons.

skeptical
April 26, 2009

Newest bottles hold EVEN LESS WATER. The handle is no longer hollow (so it doesn't hold water) and there's now a divot built into the bottom of the bottle. I'm trying to find out how to file a consumer complaint.

Stephanie
January 12, 2010

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