Recently, people have made the discovery that they look like a koala drinking from the brand’s free-sip water bottle as it covers up their nose and the lid gives the appearance of the animal.
The discovery prompted some to speculate that the appearance of users drinking the bottle is the reason behind the Koala-like name of the water bottle.
One video with over 16 million views made by @juliajoczys reads: “Apparently it’s called Owala because when you drink it you look like a koala.”
Many people went on to leave comments about how much they loved the concept. “Now I want to just walk around like this with mine,” one comment read.
Another comment agreed, writing: “Omg! Now I want one cause koalas are adorable.”
“Okay I’m obsessed with my Owala and now I’m more obsessed...” a third commenter wrote.
Other commenters joked that this would be what causes people to switch to the Owala water bottle over the popular Stanley cup.
“Me watching the Stanleys migrate to the back of the cupboard while these move in,” one comment joked.
“We’re witnessing the next Stanley,” another commenter pointed out.
Although, because Owala has not publicly confirmed whether or not this is actually where the brand name comes from, some commenters have claimed that it is only a coincidence that Owala and koala rhyme.
“I don’t think it counts as ‘finding out’ if it isn’t true in the first place,” one person wrote in the comments.
Stanley cups are the stainless steel water bottles that have taken over the world for being the direct competitor for Owala. The viral tumblers, namely its 40-ounce Quencher cup, are known for its variety of colours and knack for keeping drinks cool for 48 hours. The products have even become somewhat of a status symbol, with one mother claiming her daughter was bullied for owning an off-brand cup and another woman allegedly stealing $2,500 worth of Stanley products.
Amid the viral craze, some concerned customers have claimed on social media that drinking from a Stanley cup may pose certain health risks. In a series of posts shared to TikTok, people have said they performed at-home lead tests on their cups. TikTok user Lead Safe Mama, whose content aims to create awareness toward childhood lead poisoning prevention, shared a video of herself testing the bottom of her Stanley cup for lead, urging that “all of the lead be removed from kitchenware especially items that might be used by a child”.
Several videos of customers testing their Stanley products for lead showed mixed results, with some of their tests turning up negative while others showed a changing colour indicating the presence of lead.
Stanley clarified whether their popular products are safe to drink from in a statement to The Independent, in which a Stanley spokesperson said that lead is used in the manufacturing process of Stanley cups. However, they emphasised that the product needs to become damaged to expose the lead.
“Our manufacturing process currently employs the use of an industry standard pellet to seal the vacuum insulation at the base of our products; the sealing material includes some lead. Once sealed, this area is covered with a durable stainless steel layer, making it inaccessible to consumers,” the spokesperson said, adding that Stanley products meet all United States regulatory requirements.
The Independent has contacted Owala for comment.