Water Enhancer. (O, Dio MiO, do we really need this now that ZaRex is back)
The other day, I was flipping through People (a.k.a., devouring every word about Kate Middleton, and mentally critiquing the Academy Awards gowns) when I saw an ad for something called “water enhancer.”
Isn’t water actually something that – as long as you don’t live in a place where it tastes and smells like sulfur, causes typhoid, or comes from poisoned ground wells – is already pretty well enhanced by your local water company?
Not that I haven’t been imbibing water enhancers for years…
There’s tea – I’m a cuppa day girl. And Polar Orange Dry (Diet) Soda which is water that’s enhanced its way into soda. But I guess that doesn’t count, because, in the case of soda, someone else is doing the enhancing for you.
ZaRex probably would be considered a “water enhancer.” However, when ZaRex was a pup (or a baby Zebra, the ZaRex mascot), there was no such concept, so it uses the more pedestrian descriptor of “flavored drink concentrate.”
For readers who were not fortunate enough to have grown up in New England, ZaRex syrup was one of those odd-ball local food- and bev-stuffs (think Moxie) that, unlike the estimable Marshmallow Fluff never made it national.
ZaRex was mixed with water to make a sweet, vaguely fruit flavored summer drink. It was used by mothers too cheap or too principled to buy soda, and too cheap or too weird to buy Kool-Aid, which was what every child of my era craved, and which the non-cheap, non-weird, likely unprincipled mothers of my era made for their kids. Naturally, I do not have to state here into which category my mother fell.
I longed, just one time, to drag my sweaty and thirsty little body into the kitchen to find a round, clear glass pitcher full of freshly mixed Kool-Aid sitting there, just waiting for me to draw the tubby little Kool-Aid guy’s face in the condensation. Alas, it was far more likely that what would be on offer would be unenhanced tap-water, or an aluminum pitcher of red, purple, or orange ZaRex.
We would argue with my mother that, at a nickel a package, Kool-Aid was cheaper than a jug of ZaRex, however much it went for at Morris Market.
Shrewdy that my mother was, possessor of business acumen far more advanced than that of the average 1950’s stay-at-home mom, she would point out that a) you got more servings out of a jug of ZaRex than you did out of a packet of Kool-Aid; and b) even when you divided the cost by the total yield of servings, ZaRex would prove to be the more cost-effective thirst solution. Even if you didn’t factor in – which my mother never failed to do – that, with Kool-Aid, you had to add sugar, which pushed the cost of Kool-Aid so sky-high that only the toniest of families could afford it.
Grumble, grumble, grumble.
Even if they lived in New England, I couldn’t imagine June Cleaver, or Margaret Anderson, or Donna Stone forcing ZaRex down the gullets of Wally and The Beav; Princess, Bud, and Kitten; or Mary and Jeff.
TV mothers were nice to their kids. They would have served Kool-Aid, all the way.
But Kool-Aid is not really all that cool. Plus it’s powdered.
So Kraft Brands, maker of Kool-Aid, got the urge to bring to market something that we’d apparently been waiting for all along: liquid water enhancer which, unlike ZaRex, you don’t have to haul around in a clumsy jug.
Thus, just one short year ago – where was I on this momentous day – Kraft gave us MiO.
Start with something simple like a glass of water. Grab your favorite liquid water enhancer. Squirt and watch your entire life become amazing. Every boring beverage needs a life coach, and MIO is the best way to create the flavor you strive to taste.
Well, as someone who wasn’t born amazing, hasn’t achieved amazing, and is still waiting for amazingness to be thrust upon me, I do feel the MiO is at least quietly calling my name – even though I must confess I have never actually strived to taste any particular flavor.
Water is superb. Except in your glass. The stuff that makes cannonballs and waterfalls loses its mojo when it comes out of the tap. So, help your water get awesome again. Let’s shake things up and have a crazy good time.
Well, of course not.
You really can’t flog something like liquid water enhancer without a bit of the hipster snark about you.
Hey, I know that capitalism and marketing are all about creating needs for stuff you don’t need, desires for stuff you never knew existed. If this weren’t the case, the march of mankind may well have stopped with indoor plumbing. There’d be no yo-yos, no TVs, no Oreos.
Still, liquid water enhancer seems a bit more superfluous than most new products, doesn’t it?
From the tweets about MiO, consumers are somewhat split, with something of a tilt on the side of negativity, but isn’t that always the way:
Put this MiO-ENERGY shit in my water it better work fck!
Be careful with that "Mio Liquid Water Enhancer"; you add a little and it tastes great. Add too much and it tastes like donkey piss.
How would one know?
just spilled water out of my bottle cuz I wanted to shake it with the Mio and I forgot to put the lid on. I got laughed at lmao
that mio shit sucks. You owe me a water
Smart water, MIO, and captain crunch... Friday morning is getting owned.
Not a big Cap’n Crunch fan, but I do believe that cereal tastes better with milk than with water, however smart and enhanced that water may be. Perhaps this tweeter just left out this key ingredient of the Friday morning mix.
The Mio commercials kind of bug me. WHAT KIND OF MANIAC OBJECTS TO DRINKING WATER? ._.
this shit ruins water! waste of $4!
oh dios mio ! i fell in love with this water
This Mio water enhancer shat is a HUSTLE
There you have it: one man’s shat is a a HUSTLE is another’s falling in love.
Mostly, I think I’ll stick with water qua water. Or water enhanced the way we used to do it.
They do say that time heels all wounds, even those dealt by early childhood Kool-Aid deprivation.
Thus, I do not feel the least bit nostalgic for Kool-Aid.
ZaRex, on the other hand…
I am pleased that, after its original producers cut it from their product line, someone else picked it up, and ZaRex is now available at some of the finest local purveyors of food. This roster includes Johnnie’s Foodmaster in Charlestown, where my brother Rick R. shops, and at the South Wellfleet Country Store, near the Cape home of my sister Kath and her husband, Rick T.
Enhanced water, enhanced the old fashioned way, from a jug of ZaRex. All the more reason to look forward to the summer.