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As lower-price bottled waters flood the market, the brand that helped create the nation's water craze wants to remind consumers it is "L'original."

Evian, marketed by Great Brands of Europe, this month introduces an estimated $20 million print and outdoor campaign with the new tagline and a fresh creative tack.

The work, from Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, features Evian water being used for luxurious purposes. One ad shows a bartender making a mixed drink by combining the contents of a large and small bottle of Evian into a martini glass. In the background, his entire bar supply is made up of Evian bottles.

In a second execution, a woman pours Evian into her goldfish bowl. A third ad shows a beautiful young woman bathing in a tub filled with the French water.

"It takes off from an urban legend that the elite bathe in it," said Will Waggaman, Great Brands marketing director. "We are poking fun at ourselves in a nice way."


The new effort breaks in May issues of consumer magazines such as Allure, Paper and Detour, and on outdoor boards in Los Angeles and New York. The outdoor buy marks a return to a medium Evian hasn't used in two years.

Paul Wolfe, Messner partner and creative director, said the campaign strategy was simply "to position Evian as the best bottled water in the world." He said the marketer wants to attract more young adults.

James Cheung, a copywriter on the ads, penned the new tagline; Guy Seese was art director.

"Other water ads all seemed the same, [with] beautiful people running on a beach or drinking water for refreshments," Mr. Seese said.

Three new ads are breaking now, but Messner expects the campaign to extend through 1999 and beyond. Messner and Evian are talking about taking the work global.


The campaign comes as the beverage market becomes waterlogged, with Coca-Cola Co. entering the fray this spring with its Dasani brand. But industry observers say there's plenty of room in all price ranges in the $4.3 billion segment.

According to Beverage Marketing Corp., Evian posted sales of $200.7 million in 1998, an increase of 8.1% over 1997. As the bottled water market grew last year, the brand's market share dipped slightly to 4.6% from 4.7% in 1997. Perrier Group's Poland Spring brand leads the category, with an 8.1% share of dollar sales.

Jennifer Solomon, a beverage analyst with Salomon Bros., said the campaign makes sense for Evian, which charges some 50 cents more per 1-liter bottle than some U.S. competitors.

"If you're going to pay up for Evian, there better be a premium image," she

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