The Fine Fragrance Market '98

November 7, 2005

Familiar names crowd the fragrance launch pad this spring as several marketers bank on extensions to established brands. There are new names too. And many of these have one thing in common-they hope to reel in younger consumers.

The Fine Fragrance Market '98

Familiar names crowd the fragrance launch pad this spring as several marketers bank on extensions to established brands. There are new names too. And many of these have one thing in common-they hope to reel in younger consumers.
A fter a lackluster holiday fragrance season, fragrance marketers head into spring with tempered optimism for the new crop of launches. In 1997, prestige fragrance sales totalled $2.8 billion in department stores, a six percent increase over 1996. Fragrances didn't fare as well at mass, however. For the year ended Jan. 25, 1998, women's fragrances were down 2% to $661 million, and men's dropped 3.2% to $486.8 million, according to Information Resources, Chicago.

Fashionable Fragrance
Fragrance marketing themes may swing from the emotional to glitzy glamour, but fashion will always drive fragrance trends. This season, French clothing designer Sonia Rykiel, known for her women's sweaters, has joined the ranks of designers-turned-fragrance marketers. Her eponymous fragrance is packaged in a sweater-shaped bottle adorned with a rhinestone signature. The fragrance, which launched exclusively at Bloomingdale's last month, is distributed by the Mode et Parfums division of Boucheron. Sonia Rykiel has top notes of black currant, passion fruit, pineapple, mandarin and cardamom, middle notes of honeysuckle, rose, lily of the valley, violet and cyclamen, and a base of sandalwood, cedar wood, patchouli and cinnamon-vanilla-tonka bean accord. A 1-oz. eau de parfum spray costs $60; 1.7-oz. eau de toilette, $50.

The house of St. John has launched its second fragrance, White Camillia, distributed by Gary Farn, Ltd. One of the fragrance's most distinguishing characteristics is its packaging. The scent is housed in a leaf-shaped floating bottle within a bottle. And oddly enough, white camillias are scentless flowers. The St. John fragrance, however, has notes of mandarin, cassias buds, jasmine, green leafy notes, bulgarian rose, peony, geranium, sandalwood, amber and musk. A 1.7-oz. eau de parfum spray costs $65. St. John's fashion designer Kelly Gray and fragrance consultant Pamela Vaile worked to create a concept that appeals to younger women. St. John's original fragrance has a following among women over 35. According to industry reports, the launch miffed executives at Chanel, who consider the white camellia a Coco Chanel icon. St. John maintains that its fashion house has also been using white camellias for more than three decades.

Jewelry and fashion designers Cartier and Gucci have their eyes on men this spring. Cartier has launched Declaration, "a fragrance of passion which subtly seduces." Notes include Russian birchwood, Italian bergamot, and bitter oranges from the Ivory Coast, wormwood from Morocco, cardamom from Guatemala, cedarwood, vetiver and oak moss. 

Gucci has launched Envy for men, a companion scent to its women's fragrance launched in 1997. According to Wella's Intercosmetics division, the launch marks a shift in the brand strategy. Eventually, older Gucci brands will be discontinued, including Eau de Gucci, Gucci No. 3, Gucci Accenti and Gucci Nobile for men. Envy for men, which will be heavily promoted, features notes of opopponax, incense, patchouli, amber and musk, cedarwood, cardamom, anise, coriander, ginger, nutmeg and pimiento. Unlike Cartier's Declaration, Gucci takes a bold attitude with Envy. According to Intercosmetics, the fragrance's overall effect is a "complex, luxurious masculine fragrance that screams sex." Envy for Men is packaged in a rectangular bottle with large black overcap. The woody, oriental scent costs $38.50 for a 1.7-oz. edt spray.

Attitude Adjustment
Attitude is everything in late 1990s fragrance marketing. Fun and feel-good emotion are the key elements of several launches. This spring Prescriptives gets playful with its latest scent, Flirt, the cosmetics company's first fragrance since Calyx, which launched in 1986. Flirt, positioned as a fun fragrance, is packaged in a faceted glass bottle and topped with a chrome-colored cap with movable ball. Flirt opens with top notes of Indonesian dossinia, iced pomegranate and leaf greens, with middle notes of ginger flower, magnolia and tilleul de Nantes and dries down to Madagascar iris, tamboti and cashmere woods. A 1.7-oz. bottle costs $40.

Shiseido's new Vocalise "embraces the contemporary woman who is true to herself and who is at ease with the varying roles in her life," according to the company. Unlike traditional perfumes, where the fragrance changes from the top through the base note, Vocalise remains constant, according to Shiseido. Its notes of peach, vanilla, musk and Japanese cypress, cassis, yuzu and pepper, red rose, neroli and lily revolve around a core scent of white orchid. Shiseido turned to Jacques Cavallier, who created the fragrances for Jean Paul Gaultier and L'eau d'Issey, to create the fragrance. A 1.6-oz. eau de parfum spray costs $58.

Stick With What Works
Familiar names crowd the fragrance launch pad this spring. Many marketers are taking the less risky route by extending existing, successful brands rather than building brands from scratch. The fragrance market is tough and the big guys are being cautious. There were half as many fragrance launches in 1997 than in 1996, according to NPD BeautyTrends.

Givenchy chose to build upon its six-year-old Amarige brand in 1998, instead of developing a completely new concept. Givenchy now offers Extravagance de Amarige. "We are communicating a classic in a fresh way," commented president Camille MacDonald. "We are pushing the Amarige concept to be more extreme, more extravagant." The whole Amarige franchise has also been given a new image with model Eva Herzigova and the advertising theme, "The other side of Amarige." Said Ms. MacDonald, "The industry is ready for chic, emotional fragrance marketing." There is a strong family resemblance with Extravagance. The packaging contains much of the same color elements and shape as the original Amarige. The bottle has been elongated and the cap has a more whimsical design. The fragrance opens with Sicilian green mandarin, South African tagete, Madagascan pink peppercorn, has a heart of Egyptian jasmine, Tunisian orange blossom and violet leaves and dries down to a base of Indonesian sandalwood and American cedarwood, musk, ambrox (synthetic ambergris) and black iris. A 1.7-oz. edt spray costs $53.

The Water is fine at Lancaster. First there was Cool Water for men, then Cool Water Woman. This year it's Sun Water, a light, floral scent. The fragrance contains Reisling flowers, which Lancaster claims has never been used in a fragrance before. The note recalls the flavor of Alsatian wine, according to the company. Other notes include bergamot, green apple and black currant, lily of the valley, melon, jasmine, rose, cardamom, coriander, chypre and cedarwood, ambergris and vanilla. The company plans to spend about $10 million to promote the launch and hopes to attract an older consumer with Sun Water.

Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent have looked to the tried and true as well. YSL has introduced Live Jazz, a revision of the original Jazz men's fragrance. The juice remains the same, but the packaging has been given a makeover to appeal to younger men. The advertising images feature musicians instead of models. Dolce Vita, although only three years old, already has an updated version, Eau de Dolce Vita, a fresh, floral, woody scent. Like Givenchy's offshoot Extravagance, Eau de Dolce Vita's new bottle is a taller, more slender version of the original. The advertising also features a more casual feeling than that of the original scent.

On the mass market level, Renaissance Cosmetics' Dana Perfumes division also chose to parlay a successful brand into a new scent, Shades by Navy. The launch came in response to the proliferation of casual fashions and alternative retail outlets that offer fragrances and personal care products. "Shades offers a different kind of scent than what's in the department store," explained Dana president Marc Rovner. "We're not going after the department store consumer. Instead, Shades is for the woman who purchases her scents at Banana Republic or The Gap." Said Mr. Rover, "The Navy brand is all about fashion. Navy is a dressy brand and Shades is less formal." He said he doesn't expect Shades to cannibalize the original Navy, however, because consumers are buying fragrances for different occasions and moods. Shades, which costs $19 for a 1.2-oz. spray, has notes of mandarin, bergamot, basil leaves, watermint, lily, peony, water hyacinth, tea accord, cardamom and woods. This year Dana will spend $5 million to promote the brand.

Dana is also restaging the Love's Baby Soft brand. The leading brand among preteens and teens throughout the 1970s and 1980s, its sales declined in recent years. This fall Dana will launch three new varieties: baby cake, baby blossom and baby doll. Dana will kick off the launch with a new ad campaign with a slightly sportier edge, said Mr. Rovner. Although Love's has been updated, it will not directly compete with the decidely more edgy Fetish, explained Mr. Rovner. In any case, Renaissance will have the young female market covered with Love's, Fetish and Shades, he said, adding that he expects the Love's relaunch to double the brand's existing sales.

The brand extension approach is no more evident than at Coty. This year, Coty is introducing Waterdance sprays, an extension of its Vanilla Fields brand. With Waterdance, Coty has shifted its strategy to connecting all new fragrance launches to existing brands. Future launches will be linked to Exclamation, Stetson, Jovan Aspen and Vanilla Fields, according to the company. To make it clear that Waterdance isn't just another body spray, Coty plans to position Waterdance alongside other fragrances, unlike most body mists, which are often placed in the bath and body section. A trial size will introduce the launch this spring and 1.7-oz. sizes at $17.50 will roll out in the summer.

Redefining Fragrances
Fragrance marketing certainly isn't business as usual. Consumers are shopping in more alternative retail outlets and looking for more variety in fragrance formats. Recognizing this, marketers have been flooding the mass market with body sprays and scented ancillary products. In fact, according to Information Resources, last year, Parfums de Coeur's new Body Fantasies shot right to the top in the mass market women's fragrances market. Coty's Vanilla Fields fragrance held the number two spot and Coty's Calgon body sprays were the third most popular women's fragrance brand.

Fragrance Impressions, which got its start with knockoffs of prestige brands, has created a new niche with its own flavors in the body spray category. This spring it expands its body spray positioning with Body Refreshers II. The line includes sprays, lotion, body washes and candles. The company is promoting the brand at retail with free-standing wicker fixtures featuring all of the products, grouped by flavor. Scents include sea spray, clean musk, midnight sky, citrus mist and island breeze. But fragrance is just part of the story-the scented skin care products also have antibacterial protection.

TerraNova, which markets its products in specialty and gift stores, has launched Essence de Vie fragrance. However, the fragrance is just part of a total aromatherapeutic body care line. Products include shower gelee, scrub sante, body cream and the Bouquet de Vie edt. The fragrance is a blend of citrus blossoms, apple, melon, ginger, peach, lemon, cypress, rose, muguet. "The concept of Essence de Vie is simple," said Kathy Saunders, vice president of TerraNova. "We combined our knowledge of the powers of aromatherapy, our experience designing fragrances and our expertise at producing effective skin care solutions."

What Happened to Unisex?
All of these new developments in the fragrance marketers can leave one wondering what happened to unisex scents. The unisex fragrance market dropped 41% in 1997, according to NPD BeautyTrends. Calvin Klein, which rode high on the unisex trend in the early 1990s, recently returned to gender-based positioning with Contradiction for women. In spite of this shift, Bulgari has launched Bulgari Black, a unisex fragrance targeting young consumers. The fragrance is packaged in a circular bottle in a black carton. The bottle is distinguished by a silver cap in the middle with a spray mechanism. Available in one size, 75-ml, it will cost $60. Bulgari Black is so named because it contains a black tea note, according to the company.

Get Sporty
Sporty is still the hottest positioning when targeting young men. Aramis is growing its mega Tommy brand this spring with Hilfiger Athletics, which targets sports-minded consumers. According to Aramis, the scent contains an energizing tonic accord extract from grapefruit and bergamot, anise, crushed wet greens and herbs, white sage and Utah yarrow and wood notes. The ad campaign features the children of famous athletes. A 1.7-oz. cologne spray costs $30.

The sporty trend ties in with the trend toward more casual clothing and fragrances. Even prestige jeweler Tiffany has turned casual, with its Tiffany for men Sport Cologne, a less formal fragrance than the original Tiffany for men. At $60 for a 3.4-oz. bottle, Tiffany expects the new fragrance to pull in more than 25% of the men's sales volume this year and attract younger men. Tiffany tweaked the original scent, adding green top notes.

Coty's sporty angle this spring is based on the energizing properties of ginseng, which is found in an increasing number of consumer products, from cosmetics to nutritional drinks and energy bars. People realize they need more energy, according to Coty's vice president of marketing Barbara Phillips. "Men are taking better care of themselves, and like women, are interested in natural products. Men wear fragrance primarily to attract women, but also for themselves," she said. "Jovan N-R-G goes beyond smelling good to promote an energizing and invigorating feeling for both the wearer and his partner." N-R-G is packaged in a clear square bottle with silver cap. Its carton features colorful holographic columns. A 1.7-oz. cologne costs $15.

Model Scents
Fashion designers and celebrities have been doing it for years. Now models are weighing in with their fragrant creations. This spring two well-known models will debut their own fragrance creations. Christie Brinkley is launching her scent, Believe, with Nu Skin. According to Ms. Brinkley, "It's an aspirational fragrance, based on a simple philosophy-if you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything." The fragrance was developed with fragrance consultant Ann Gottlieb. Believe is a fresh floral packaged in a frosted glass oval bottle. A 50-ml spray costs $47.

Argentinian model Valeria Mazza has created Valeria, which will be marketed by San Telmo, Chicago. Valeria, a former Guess model, is gaining more recognition in the U.S. She was on the March cover of Glamour, appeared on a Prime Time Live interview and was featured on an E! Network special. San Telmo distributes several U.S. brands in Argentina and developed a fragrance for Argentine fashion retailer Vitamina. Founder Fred Weinert also worked on the design and development of Mariel Hemingway's Mariel for the H2O Plush chain.

Valeria's signature fragrance has top notes of white freesia, Italian bergamot and nectarine, a heart of jasmine, damascone rose, violet, cassie and magnolia and a base of sandalwood, cedarwood and musk. The lavender-color scent is housed in a curvaceous bottle inspired by Valeria's figure. The fragrance launched in Latin America in February and will launch in the U.S. later this year in 300 doors. A 1.7-oz. eau parfum spray costs $40. While many fragrances center around an attitude, Valeria eschewed that approach, said San Telmo marketing vice president Laura Jensen. "Instead, the fragrance simply celebrates a woman's femininity," she said. This is reflected in current fashions, she observed. "Clothing has become softer and less edgy," she said. Breaking into the U.S. fragrance market certainly isn't easy, admitted Ms. Jensen. "You need to be new. You need to hit home so solidly or consumers are going to try something else."

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