Celebrities and brands often go hand in hand, be it a sponsored deal, a partnership or their own brand. And while people naturally flock to products endorsed by their favorite actors, models and social media stars, critics of capitalism and consumerism bring out some legitimate points against such practices.

Plenty of people shared similar sentiments when Will Smith decided to switch his career as an actor, rapper, and now a YouTuber for a day as a Boots UK sales assistant in 2018. It wasn’t that he felt bored or wanted some new experiences to spice things up in his life, no. The proud father was promoting his son Jaden’s brand of bottled water called ‘Just Water’. And as soon as photos and posts emerged on the internet, it received praise as well as criticism.

In 2018 Will Smith worked a shift at Boots in London to promote his son’s brand ‘Just Water’

Image credits: Boots

Image credits: Boots

Some users on Tumblr immediately jumped to attack not only Jaden’s brand and the fact that he sells water, but also that it was promoted. However, it didn’t take long for someone to quickly defend the celebrity family as they presented some unexpected facts about Smith’s company.

Image credits: Boots

However, not everyone was pleased with such a gesture

Turns out, while Jaden Smith sells bottled water, there’s more to this brand than might appear from the get-go. According to the official website, ‘Just Water’ is sustainably sourced from Glens Falls, NY and has a packaging that’s 100% recyclable, 82% renewable and also refillable, with the bottle having a wide neck to make it easy to refill. “Every choice we make is considered, from where our natural spring water comes from, to the materials that are used to make our ocean conscious bottle,” the site claims. “When it comes to our environment, we know that one bottle might not change the world. But it’s a start”.

As some attacked Will and his son for their product, someone stepped in to defend them

With the help of his parents, Jaden Smith co-founded ‘Just Water’ in 2012 after seeing plastic pollution first hand. He felt the need to change something about it and decided to produce a more eco-friendly brand of water. After all, we all need it to survive.

Image credits: msftseverything

Image credits: Just Water

The water comes from Glens Falls where snow and rain produce 3 billion gallons of water every year. While the city uses half of the collected water, ‘Just Water’ uses only a fraction of what remains all while paying 6 times the normal rate for using it. “By placing a greater value on an abundant natural resource which has been historically undervalued, we provided a new income source for the city which is expected to reach $1 million over the next 3-5 years,” the company explains. While most bottled water is purified tap water (a process which wastes water and energy), Jaden’s product is naturally sourced and comes with naturally occurring minerals and pH content.

And here’s how people responded to the exchange between the users

As for the packaging? While most of their competitors use plastic bottles to contain their water, Smith’s product is stored in cartons that are made mostly of paper. “We use paper made from trees that are responsibly harvested and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council,” the site details. They also mention that paper is a renewable source that also contributes to lower carbon emissions. To seal the paper and prevent it from breaking, ‘Just Water’ uses plastic. Although that might immediately raise red flags for most readers, the company claims that their plastic is made mostly out of sugarcane.

The company has also teamed up with the local community so they could work hand-in-hand to create a more sustainable brand. ‘Just Water’ first started in a local abandoned church and united people to revitalize their own city. While buying out a fraction of the city’s abundant source of water, ‘Just Water’ gives back by putting in efforts to fix the city’s aged infrastructure. “Many of the century-old pipes in the municipal water system are still in use. They are leaky and inefficient, with 500 million gallons being lost through the cracks annually,” the site explains the issue. ‘Just Water’ puts in a share of the capital to help fix those issues.

Of course, most of the criticism coming from the outside is valid, but a lot of people commend the young entrepreneur for his effort to change how the water business works. And while there are pros and cons to the situation, there are differing opinions. What do you think?