When a Heat Wave Becomes an Accidental Media Play

What Everyone Is Talking About

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Really, is there anything else to talk about this week besides the heat wave? By most media accounts, not really. From the front page of USA Today to the home page of CNN.com, overheated American's were shown brandishing bottles of water to stave off the triple-digit temps.
News alert: It's hot.
News alert: It's hot. Credit: AP

But more specifically, most bottles shown were of Poland Spring. USA Today featured the Maine-sourced brand above the fold for its story about the East Coast heat wave. The home page of CNN.com pictured four bottles, while an AP photo of a man pouring water from a Poland Spring bottle on himself made the home page of the New York Daily News website and was used in a story on MSNBC's website. Watercooler also counted two more bottles on the New York Times site.

We tried to reach the company for comment on this inadvertent media play, but the water folks were perhaps too busy keeping up with demand to talk to us.

However, we're wondering exactly what the news media thinks its telling us with all this heat-wave coverage. It's not news that it's hot. We know it. We feel it.

But rather than use prime airtime or front-page real estate to inform the public of something unexpected, news sources are focusing on reminding us that its, well, summer. Here's a rundown of some of the most noteworthy hot-weather coverage, and it's worth noticing the cliche and pun-filled headlines, too: "With Dial on Broil, City Staggers Through Day" (New York Times); "Broiling round the clock in East" (USA Today); "Melting Pot" (New York Daily News).

CNN.com on its home page took a more serious approach: "Heatwave: People are dying." But the photo is a more lighthearted shot of a man selling water on the streets of New York, wearing two Poland Spring bottles on his head, strapped to his cap.

The Daily News has earned an extra shout-out for its coverage. Almost the whole front page of the city tabloid has an illustration of the Statue of Liberty, sitting down on her pedestal with a look of torture on her face, holding one of those hand-held water fans.
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