Poland Spring

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After Perrier Group of America brought in Jeff Caso as VP-marketing of Poland Spring Corp. for its Poland Spring bottled water brand in 1992, the executive helped perform the magical feat of converting a Maine natural spring into a gold mine.

Mr. Caso has built sales and market share for Poland Spring, positioning it as the market leader for the past three years. Indeed, Poland Spring sales reached $406.2 million for 1999, more than double its $201.9 total in 1995. By comparison, Perrier's West Coast brand, Arrowhead, took second place with sales of $315 million, followed by PepsiCo's Aquafina brand, with sales of $285 million, according to Beverage Marketing Corp.

"I've watched his career since 1991; he is very bright and a good strategic thinker," says Michael Bellas, chairman-CEO of Beverage Marketing. "Jeff has been able to make Poland Spring the premier brand in the Northeast. It has the highest awareness levels, it has that wonderful, good-for-you positioning, and he's been able to do it with packaging, labeling and in-store merchandising without a major investment in TV advertising."

Mr. Caso piloted the Poland Spring brand through a turbulent decade of growth and stepped-up competition. Category sales have nearly doubled from $2.6 billion in 1991 to $4.9 billion in 1999, and major competitors such as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Co. and Group Danone have made their bid for market share.

Mr. Caso was recently promoted to managing director of international marketing at Perrier Vittel SA, replacing Richard Girardot, who was named international managing director.

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