Evian is a brand of mineral water from the French Alps (near Évian-les-Bain) that was introduced to the Untied States market in 1978. Evian quickly became popular with celebrities and the rich, while some critics claimed that the highly priced bottled water was little better than tap water (available for free). The bottled water joke that “‘Evian” spelled backwards is ‘naive’” has been cited in print since at least 1990. There are several graphics of the Evian/Naive bottled water joke on many websites.
Évian-les-Bain was the site of the Évian Conference in July 1938, where many nations discussed a possible solution to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. The “‘Evian’ spelled backwards is ‘naive’” joke actually came out of the failed Évian Conference, with many people pointing out that it was naive to believe the conference would have solved the problem.
Évian-les-Bains or Évian (French pronunciation: [evjɑ̃ le bɛ̃]) is a commune in the northern part of the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. An elite holiday resort and spa town on the shores of Lake Geneva (French: Lac Léman), for two centuries, it has hosted many Royals such as Kings Edward VII and George V of the United Kingdom and King Farouk of Egypt, and celebrities such as countess Anna de Noailles and Marcel Proust.
The Évian Conference was convened in Évian in July 1938 to discuss the problem of Jewish refugees
Evian (French pronunciation: [e’vjɑ̃ ], Phonetic Pronunciation: AY-vee-ahn) is a French brand of mineral water coming from several sources near Évian-les-Bains, on the south shore of Lake Geneva.
Today, Evian is owned by Danone Group, a French multinational company. In addition to the mineral water, Danone Group uses the Evian name for a line of organic skin care products as well as a luxury resort in France.
In popular culture, Evian is portrayed as a luxury and expensive bottled water. It was named in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. It is popular among Hollywood celebrities.
1978 marked an entrance into the U.S. market.
While Six Million Died:
A Chronicle of American Apathy
By Arthur D. Morse
New York, NY: Random House
Several publications pointed out that “Evian” spelled backwards is “naive,” and Time magazine observed wryly. “Evian is the home of a famous spring of still and unexciting table water.
The Contemporary Assault on Freedom of Movement
By Alan Dowty
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
In short, the Evian conference simply confirmed that the final lifeline — the right to flee — no longer existed. Observers seeking symbolism pointed out that Evian is a source of still water, and that Evian backward spelled “naive.”
20 January 1990, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), “FYI,” pg. B1, col. 1:
Patti Colegrove the the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer points out that Evian, the preferred bottled water of yuppies and film stars, spells naive backward.
18 October 1993, New York magazine, pg. 109, col. 1:
Art director Rich Croland offers a taste of Shevack humor: “Ever notice that Evian is naive backwards? It’s just the French f— ing with us again.”
18 February 1994, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), “‘Reality Bites’ a funny glimpse at youth scene” by Robert Denerstein:
An insight among these kids: “Evian” spelled backwards is “naive.”
17 July 1997, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “Mars is for people who can do the math” by Glynn Moore, Richmond County Neighbors, pg. 2, col. 5:
I suspects that these skeptics, shut-ins and loonies picked that brand of bottled water because they know that Evian is “naive” spelled backward and they expect us to be that gullible.
By Lawrence A. Armour
March 17, 2003
It makes you think. Do the people at Evian (which is “naive” spelled backward) know something we don’t?
The Billion Dollar Water. Evian = Naive?
FUN / MARCH 17, 2005 / NADER
The Hungry I
Published July 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm
There Is A Reason Evian Is Naive Spelled Backwards…
Consumers in industrial countries drink it for ‘taste’ and ‘convenience’. In developing countries, unreliable and unsafe municipal water supplies have driven the growth in consumption. Yet many poorer people who need improved drinking water supplies can’t afford the bottled version.
Never Look Back:
The Jewish Refugee Children in Great Britain, 1938-1945
By Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz
West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press
One refugee remarked wryly that “Evian” was merely “naïve” spelled backwards. For the thousands of Jewish refugees seeking asylum, the conference’s multitude of resolutions, combined with the absence of solutions, were not only naive—they were absolutely life threatening.