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Beauty Beat: Coty Scores Beckhams

After striking fragrance deals with many high-profile personalities, Coty Inc. aims to double its luck with celebrity couple David and Victoria Beckham.

NEW YORK — After striking fragrance deals with some of the biggest personalities in show business, Coty Inc. aims to double its luck by recruiting a celebrity couple, Victoria and David Beckham, better known as Posh and Becks.

On their home turf in London, the pair has appeared so often in the tabloid press that the Beckhams have become as ubiquitous as Camilla and Charles. The birth of the couple’s third son on Sunday elicited a rash of media reports, speculating on everything from the appropriateness of baby Cruz’s name to the health of his parents’ marriage.

“The Beckhams are one of the most well-known couples in the world,” said Bernd Beetz, chief executive officer of Coty Inc., adding that the two have global appeal. Beetz’s appraisal should not be taken lightly, considering the star wattage Coty has already amassed. The fragrance company demolished the fragrance launch jinx by signing Jennifer Lopez — and later Celine Dion and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The latest additions to Coty’s house of celebrities include Sarah Jessica Parker and Shania Twain.

The global licensing deal marks the first time Coty will create a fragrance concept around a male and female celebrity pair.

The company described the package deal with the couple as a long-term relationship, one that the company plans to build into a Beckham Beauty House over the next 10 years, said Steve Mormoris, senior vice president, international marketing for Coty Beauty Europe. The Beckham Beauty House, which will fall under Coty’s Lancaster Group, will have room to include multiple fragrances and ancillary products under each of the couple’s names, but it will focus initially on men’s fragrance under David Beckham’s name.

Beetz said the details of the concept, such as the juice and the bottle, are still in development, but that the fragrance will bow in select European markets in September. Coty executives did not give a specific timeline but said the scent will later roll out in Asia, the U.K. and U.S. department stores.

The David Beckham launch will include an eau de toilette, after shave, and a smattering of “functional,” scented skin care products. Coty will continue to cycle in more skin care items over time, noted Mormoris.

The next phase, he added, will likely include a his-and-her fragrances “to celebrate the union of Victoria and David and their love of fashion.”

The Beckhams appeal overseas remains strong, spurred by the tabloid press and David Beckham’s prowess on the soccer field, but Americans are not so familiar with England’s favorite duo. Mormoris acknowledged the gap: “It’s clear that David Beckham’s awareness is close to 99 percent in Europe and Asia.” He added that as soccer becomes a more important sport in the U.S., Beckham’s awareness will also increase. Beckham, England’s soccer team captain and Real Madrid player, has laid out plans to bolster his visibility on U.S. soil by opening “football academies,” reported Mormoris.

The executive added that he has been fascinated by David Beckham’s ability to meld the masculinity of sports with the elegance of high fashion and that he has been in talks with Beckham’s agent for several years. “David is a leading male style setter who bridges sports and fashion and transcends all ethnic boundaries,” said Mormoris.

David Beckham has already inked deals with megabrands such as Gillette, Pepsi and Adidas, also a Coty licensor. Beckham and Adidas recently announced the launch of a new line of leisurewear. These deals, as well as Victoria’s ties to denim label Rock & Republic, may help Coty introduce the Beckhams to Middle America.

“We think David Beckham will be one of our biggest launches in history,” said Mormoris, adding that the soccer player-fashion icon’s persona of “sports, fashion and glamour,” will inspire a growing legion of new grooming-conscious men to buy fragrance.