Frequency H2O bottled water promises increased health benefits thanks to its innovative ‘vibration treatment’ – a clever marketing ploy that is helping it sell 30,000 litres a month in Oz. But as industry bodies say, the water tastes really good, so it begs to reason that this gimmick actually works – but how?
Highlights & Data
- Frequency H2O is a bottled water brand that is using subsonic technology to send vibrations through the water
- It has a high pH balance of 8 and is marketed as promoting health, balance and harmony
- Australians are buying more bottled water than ever, with its popularity peaking among Gen Y
- While it’s science isn’t proven,Frequency H2O’s success is down to clever marketing, celebrity endorsements
and a solid, well-packaged product
- Frequency H20 sells 30,000 litres of its bottled water for $3.35 a litre to more than 500 stores across Australia (Frequency H2O, 2018)
- 5.3 million Australians above the age of 14 drank bottled water regularly during the week in 2015 (Roy Morgan, 2015)
- In 2017, the $3.4 trillion global wellness market was three times larger than the worldwide pharmaceutical industry (Global Wellness Institute, 2017)
- 50% of Australians are making active steps to take better care of their health (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017)
Sometimes a product that relies on a gimmick can go a long way. Not because the gimmick piqued
interest enough for someone to put their hand in their pocket, but because it surprisingly backs up
the promise of a superior product.
Frequency H2O is a bottled water brand that uses subsonic technology to send vibrations through the water, which alters its pH balance and ultimately promotes health, balance and harmony.
Sounds like a load of white noise? Well, the water tastes surprisingly good, so say the critics.
Founded in 2015 by Australian entrepreneur Sturt Hinton, Frequency H2O is spring water that’s naturally rich in minerals and is from a protected aquifer in North Queensland. It has an alkaline of pH8 and is infused with sound frequency vibrations.
“A fusion of science and art,” the water is treated 10,000 gallons at a time “through a trade secret two-stage kinetic energy process and infused with a blend of Solfeggio, sound and light frequencies”, says the marketing copy on the brand’s website.
This vibration treatment, known as ‘cymatics’, “enlivens the molecules, producing noticeable texture, softness and ultra-hydrating taste, feel and effect.” 
Frequency H2O is available in bottles that have been ‘tuned’ with sound and light frequencies associated with love, lunar or rainbow. According to Hinton, he sells 30,000 litres of the Frequency for $3.35 a litre to more than 500 stores across Australia, and it will soon be hitting the shelves in the United States. 
Popular with celebrities such as Katy Perry, The Veronicas and Ruby Rose, the demand for Frequency H2O is growing, especially among the health and wellness movement. Usually accompanied with the hashtags #raiseyourvibration or #findmyfrequency, the vibration enhanced water now has a social media following of more than 16K across Instagram and Facebook. 
Since Hinton launched Frequency H2O three years ago, it has been voted Australia’s best-tasting water and recently won gold at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting awards, beating 100 global competitors, including one water that costs $115 a bottle.  Still relatively new to the market, Frequency H2O hasn’t wasted any time in creating a cult status for itself; Aussie TV presenter and nutritionist Lola Berry is a big fan of the brand and is often seen with a bottle in hand.
 Yet on a browse through Frequency H2O’s social media sites it’s obvious that the company has relied on a clear message. Almost all the posts are celebrities or personalities endorsing the water, or images of shopkeepers who have agreed to stock the bottles.
So is Frequency H2O’s success down to it being a great water or simply great marketing?
Despite growing pressure from Clean Up Australia and other eco-groups to stop using plastic bottles, Aussies are buying more bottled water than ever. According to market research carried out by Roy Morgan in 2015, some 5.3 million Australians above the age of 14 drink bottled water regularly during the week, compared to 4.9 million Australians of the same bracket in 2014. Of this number, bottled water is drunk mostly by Australians under 50, with its popularity peaking among Aussie Gen Yers. 
Naturally, the thirst for bottled water in any market is symptomatic of the growing interest in wellness across the world. In January 2017, a study carried out by the Global Wellness Institute found that the $3.4 trillion global wellness market is now three times larger than the worldwide pharmaceutical industry.  Consumer demand for wellness services and products are at an alltime high.
Euromonitor International found that in Australia the growth in the industry as a whole and related consumables are mutually exclusive. As the report states: “Due to growing health consciousness, bottled water has become increasingly seen as a grocery staple. In fact, the Australasian Bottled Water Institute estimates that around 10% of Australians’ total water consumption derives from bottled water.” The most popular bottled water is Coca-Cola-owned Mount Franklin, with approximately 40% of the market share. In comparison, Evian and FIJI water both had less than 2% of the popular vote. 
Whatever the HZ frequency they are putting through the water, the marketing is making it tasty and appealing for consumers
Sophie Kow, marketing expert
Frequency H2O isn’t the first frequency-infused water to hit the shelves. In 2006, ‘Liquid OM’ was released. It was a purified water “infused with the frequency of the earth as it revolves around the sun”; a specific vibration that is expressed in meditation circles by the mantra “om”, hence ‘Liquid OM’. It was created by Chicago-based Kenny Mazursky, a certified sound therapist who uses Tibetan singing bowls in meditation classes to help clients deal with pain, insomnia and anxiety.  When it first came out, the brand was treated with scepticism that later turned into ridicule. Interestingly, the consumer reaction to the idea of frequency-infused water is one of
It’s likely that the proliferation of alternative health treatments and consumables is helping to normalise off-beat USPs that seemed odd a decade ago. And with Frequency H2O being stocked in spas, wellness centres, gyms, yoga studios and health-food stores across Australia, it’s easy to understand how the product – and its promises of improving health by way of a new-fangled technology – isn’t that strange to some. 
Insights and opportunities
Marketing expert Sarah Kozicki believes that much of Frequency H2O’s success isn’t just down to a marketing gimmick, but a solid, well-packaged product, too. “I would have to say it is 80% because it is good water and 20% great marketing,” Kow says. “Ask anyone who has competitively made coffee, not all water is created equal. Whatever the HZ frequency they are putting through the water, the marketing is making it tasty and appealing for consumers.”
Indeed, having been awarded the best tasting water in the world, it must be doing something right.
But what is it that draws people to buy the product in the first place? “First of all, the labelling is quite eyecatching. Once it has your attention and you see it says it’s infused with love, curiosity compels you to take a closer look. The price point is relatively low compared to other bottled water – especially if you’re buying a portion of love. That in itself would entice some buyers,” she adds. 
Proponents of alkaline water believe it can help your body metabolise nutrients more effectively, which leads to better health. Frequency H2O is marketed as a high-alkaline water and ultrahydrating. With a pH of 8, the enhanced water does indeed have a higher pH than most, but drinking it will not affect our bodies, despite claims that consuming alkaline-enriched food and drink will help maintain blood pH. But as Dr Melinda Ratini says, vaguely scientific-sounding marketing bumf – much like Frequency H2O uses – can convince people to buy something that actually has little to no impact on their health.
“Nothing you eat or drink is going to substantially change the pH level of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant,” she says. “Our blood pH should remain between 7.35 and 7.45.” Besides, “To tip the scales too far in either direction can cause alkalosis or acidosis and lead to serious illness.” 
In Australia, people may be buying more bottled water than before as drinking culture changes. A comprehensive study of more than 20,000 Australians released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in 2017 shows that drinking culture has changed since 2013. Of those surveyed, 50% are making active steps to taking better care of their health, while young adult Australians are reducing excessive drinking habits, with 63% drinking less than two standard drinks per day. 
Much like Aussies’ growing preference for drinks that utilise some form of novelty – such as Husk Distillers’ colour-changing Ink Gin – brands looking to take a chance on an off-the wall marketing technique can take heart from those like Frequency H2O – as long as they know their product will give customers good vibrations.
1. ‘Frequency H2O‘, Frequency H20 (2018)
2. ‘Australian bottled water company that ‘infuses each bottle with love, rainbows and the moon‘ takes home top prize at
‘tasting Olympics’ – beating an $115 drop’, Daily Mail (March 2018)
3. ‘An Aussie start-up selling water infused with ‘love, rainbows and the moon’ is cornering the market’ , news.com.au
4. ‘instagram.com/frequencyh2o‘, Instagram (2018)
5. ‘Queensland bottled water ‘infused with love’ voted world’s best‘, Sydney Morning Herald (March 2018)
6. ‘Bottled water consumption booming‘, Roy Morgan (April 2016)
7. ‘Global Wellness Institute study: $3.4 trillion global wellness market is now three times larger than worldwidepharmaceutical industry‘, Global Wellness Institute (September 2014)
8. ‘Bottled Water in Australia‘, Euromonitor International (March, 2018)
9. ‘Introducing ‘liquid OM’ – the first frequency-enhanced bottled water; sales will support earth-friendly causes’ , Bevnet
10. Interview with Sarah Kozicki conducted by the author.
11. ‘Alkaline diets‘, webmd.com (February 2018)
12. ‘We’re more mature and responsible in how we drink‘, DrinkWise (September 2017)
This article was produced for Canvas8 consultancy.