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LOS ANGELES — David and Victoria Beckham are betting that selling Americans on his and her fragrances won’t be as hard as selling them on soccer.
The pair launched new masterbrand Intimately Beckham to the U.S. market at a small gathering Thursday evening at the Hotel Bel-Air, a stone’s throw from their new Beverly Hills home. The scent duo — created with Coty Beauty, a division of Coty Inc. — follows Instinct by David Beckham, a men’s fragrance released domestically a year ago.
“Why is this different from any other celebrity fragrance? The fact that [I] have spent a lot of time checking all the details,” said Victoria Beckham, clad in a body-hugging Hervé Léger dress and towering Balenciaga heels. “We are not just saying, ‘We are celebrities, put our name on it.’ I love to be involved with the whole process.”
But celebrity status has certainly proven lucrative for the Beckhams. David’s professional move to the U.S. from Spain netted him a reported $250 million for Major League Soccer play with the L.A. Galaxy and related endorsement deals (although he’s been injured and has yet to play a full game). For her part, Victoria is nurturing a lifestyle brand called DVB, which incorporates everything from jeans to sunglasses and could be worth $150 million at stores this year, according to industry sources.
The fragrance business, however, is no chump change. Industry sources estimate that the Beckham franchise of scents will generate $100 million in worldwide retail sales this year and double that amount next year. In less than 18 months, the Beckham lineup’s revenues have surpassed Shania Twain’s Shania by Stetson to land sixth in Coty’s U.S. stable, still trailing behind fifth place Jovan.
“It looks like it will be the largest masstige fragrance in the world,” said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty. “There are other masstige fragrances like Mexx, maybe Naomi Campbell, but when we look at the worldwide market, the Beckham brand goes from prestige to drugstores to perfumeries. There are very few brands that have been that big, and we just have been growing in sales dramatically and in market share.”
Coty is deploying a two-tier distribution strategy Stateside with Intimately Beckham. The twin fragrances will hit shelves at Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Ulta and Sears in September, and will be released on a wider basis in January. Mormoris speculated that eventually drug chain stores would be the biggest U.S. volume drivers for Intimately Beckham.
Lutz Herrmann Design created square glass bottles topped with a clear cap containing the DVB insignia and diamond-cut and rose gold neck collar. The boxes and juice are pale pink for the feminine scent and tobacco brown for the masculine scent. Prices for both eaux de toilette range from $25 for 0.5 oz. to $55 for 2.5 oz.
International Flavors & Fragrances perfumer Alain Astori formulated the Intimately Beckham for Him fragrance with top notes of bergamot, grapefruit and cardamom; a heart of violet, nutmeg and star anise, and sandalwood, patchouli and amber base notes. Firmenich perfumer Jean-Pierre Bethouart concocted Intimately Beckham for Her with top notes of bergamot and rose; middle notes of Casablanca lily, tuberose and orange blossom, and a musky drydown of vanilla and sandalwood.
“It was just smells that were true to us,” explained Victoria of the notes that were chosen. “For me, it has always been tuberose. I like how it’s young, fresh, modern, but it still reminds me of my grandmother. It is a smell that’s not going to date. We wanted products that aren’t going to date, that are going to stand the test of time.”
The Intimately Beckham release in the U.S. will be supported with a print ad campaign shot by Peter Lindbergh. The centerpiece black-and-white photo is a close-up of Victoria and David’s faces with miniature color images of the bottle in the lower right corner, the stylized DVB logo and the tag line “the seductive new fragrances for him and her.”
Mormoris joked that the “budget for clothing was very low” for the sexy ad campaign. “[Lindbergh] was exploring the intimacy of the Beckhams. We wanted to show a lot of their bodies,” he said. “[The centerpiece ad] tells a very simple story of a fashion icon couple who believes in beauty and are intimate.”
The Beckham fragrance brand will get a boost this September with the unveiling of Intimately Night in Europe and Asia. Victoria also said a “signature fragrance” is scheduled for a worldwide drop in fall 2008, and a makeup line she developed will enter Japan in October this year before it is available globally.
The Beckham marriage has lasted seven years and has produced three children: Brooklyn, eight; Romeo, four, and Cruz, two. Even after a few minutes with the couple, it is obvious David defers to Victoria on matters of beauty and grooming. Media-savvy and polished, she typically responds to questions first and, although David is chatty as well, his two cents are frequently preceded with the words, “I agree.”
“I am a real girl’s girl, and I love products. I am a real consumer,” said Victoria. “I like to test everything myself, which is great, and my family tests it.” David added, “I am quite a man’s man, but I also love to look after myself. I like to use creams, facial cream and body cream. It is nice to be married to Victoria because she has everything.”
And how are the two adjusting to California living? Victoria reported, “We are starting to say trunk instead of boot, trash instead of rubbish.” David concurred, “We are starting to get it — slowly.”
P&G Reports EPS Up 22% in 4th Qtr.
As the Procter & Gamble Company posted fourth-quarter earnings per share that soared 22 percent, the consumer products giant delivered a strong gain in its beauty business despite a “sales disruption” in Asia.
For the quarter ended June 30, P&G said diluted EPS climbed to 67 cents with net earnings gaining 19 percent to $2.3 billion on a sales increase of 8 percent to $19.3 billion. For the year, net earnings rose 19 percent to $10.3 billion on sales that jumped 12 percent to $76.5 billion.
The beauty segment posted net earnings that gained 9 percent to $807 million on sales that rose 8 percent to $5.9 billion. For the year, net earnings in the segment jumped 12 percent to $3.5 billion on sales that increased 9 percent to $23 billion.
The company said in a statement that a favorable product mix “was driven by double-digit sales growth on prestige fragrances behind Dolce & Gabbana, Escada and Lacoste. Foreign exchange had a positive 3 percent impact on net sales while higher promotion spending resulted in a negative 1 percent net pricing impact.”
P&G went on to say in its quarterly report that the sales disruption in Asia “resulting from the temporary suspension of SK-II shipments in China earlier in the fiscal year had a negative 1 percent impact on global beauty sales during the quarter. Skin care and feminine care each delivered high-single-digit organic volume growth behind continued success on Olay Definity and Regenerist and the Always Clean and Fresh initiatives. Hair care organic volume grew mid-single digits behind strong growth on Pantene and Head & Shoulders.” — Arthur Zaczkiewicz