Marketing 50

Fiji Natural Artesian

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In September, the marketer of Fiji Natural Artesian Water had a crisis on its hands. See, the Dom Perignon of water has been in short supply as its South Pacific factory couldn't keep up with demand.

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."

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