The taste is so distinctive, executives say, it has become a key ingredient for celebrity chefs like Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Nobu Matsuhisa, and a badge of taste for stars like P Diddy and Jessica Simpson.
At $5.99 for a six-pack of 500-milliliter bottles, Fiji Water co-founder and CEO Doug Carlson calls it "an affordable luxury." The lifelong high-end hotel executive downplays the event sponsorships, product placements in feature films and occasional print ads for driving demand for the pretty bottles with snob appeal.
The brand served in a silver coaster or "slipper," rang up about $47 million in 2003 sales, up more than 65%. "Have we done anything really magical? No, we've just got a great product," he says. "That packaging can help drive the initial trial but ... we had somebody that drove 50 miles to purchase the Fiji."