PERRIER TO FEATURE ARTWORK ON BOTTLES

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Bottles of Perrier sparkling mineral water on supermarket shelves starting this week will bear newly designed holiday labels created by up-and-coming artists.Two of the designs will be exclusive to supermarkets; two others will be exclusive to restaurants. The third design will be distributed to both venues.The "art bottle" program for the flagship brand of Perrier Group of America

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Bottles of Perrier sparkling mineral water on supermarket shelves starting this week will bear newly designed holiday labels created by up-and-coming artists.

Two of the designs will be exclusive to supermarkets; two others will be exclusive to restaurants. The third design will be distributed to both venues.

The "art bottle" program for the flagship brand of Perrier Group of America will be accompanied by a $7 million advertising and marketing budget -- the largest investment the company has made in recent history.

Perrier is offering supermarket retailers special point-of-sale materials and end-cap displays during the holiday season.

This is Perrier's second experience with art bottles. The first series of 11-ounce bottles was introduced in restaurants this summer, resulting in a 21% increase in volume from May to June over the previous year.

The original eye-catching line of "art bottles" led to a significant increase in distribution, according to the company. Nearly 1,100 new accounts were opened, bringing the total distribution to more than 8,000 restaurants nationwide, including a number of famous eateries like Spago in Los Angeles and Gascogne in New York.

The artists -- four American and one Canadian -- were allowed to use their own styles to create these unique labels. Perrier is now planning a contest to choose artists to design labels for next year's holiday bottles.

In the $2.9 billion bottled water market, the Perrier Group holds a whopping 25.9% market share, followed far behind by McKesson Water Products at 7.7% and Evian at 4.7%. Although the top 10 bottled water companies command about 53% of the market, the industry is highly fragmented, with some 400 brands of bottled water competing for shelf space.

Perrier Group, owned by Nestle Sources International, S.A., produces 12 brands of bottled water, including seven of the top 10 industry brands.

Supermarkets will carry the 25-ounce bottles of Perrier at a suggested retail price of $1.29.