CERNOBBIO, Italy -- When Laura Biagiotti launches her third women's fragrance in Europe this fall, she will be reaching for a younger customer.
The new scent, called Laura, will be aimed at women from 18 to 35, according to Walter Farnsteiner, president of the German-based Eurocos Cosmetic GmbH, the prestige fragrance division of Procter & Gamble.
Bud Hamilton, president of Eurocos USA, which is based in Hunt Valley, Md., said the target audience for Biagiotti's established fragrances, Roma and Venezia, is a "little older," from 18 to 49.
Farnsteiner and Hamilton were here last week for a two-day press presentation of the new fragrance. The high point was a formal dinner Thursday for 300 guests in the sumptuous 15th-century Villa d'Este on the shore of Lake Como.
Farnsteiner said Laura will be introduced in September simultaneously in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Finland and Sweden.
Laura will be distributed through 1,200 to 1,500 perfumeries in Italy and 6,000 to 7,000 throughout the rest of Europe.
Distribution to France and Great Britain will follow six to 12 months later.
"We couldn't include these countries immediately because we are a little behind," Farnsteiner said."We still have to introduce the previous fragrances and establish our organization in these two markets."
While there are still no definite plans for the U.S., Farnsteiner said Laura might be introduced there in fall 1995.
"There are so many different sales patterns for the U.S. market, depending on financial plans and what you have in the pipeline," he said. "But if you want to be a global player, you have to cover the U.S and [Western] Europe in the same way, since these two markets generate 65 to 70 percent of the total worldwide volume," Farnsteiner pointed out.
Hamilton noted that American launches usually follow the European introductions within six to 18 months.
Although Farnsteiner declined to disclose sales projections and advertising budgets, industry sources estimate that Laura could reach a wholesale volume of $40 million to $50 million for the first year.
The launch will be supported by an advertising budget equaling 50 to 60 percent of projected sales, according to sources.The fragrance is fruity but pungent, with white peach and watermelon top notes. Other notes include lychee, dark green ferns, rose petals, violet, white water lilies and sandalwood.
"It's a multifaceted fragrance in a new style and totally different from the fruity orientals of the Eighties," said Farnsteiner.
The clear glass bottle is designed to resemble a tall, slender amphora. The outer packaging is a cardboard box with a pale blue and white design.
The line includes eau de toilette sprays in 25-ml., 50-ml. and 75-ml. sizes that will retail for $35, $49 and $60 (55,000, 77,000 and 93,000 lire, respectively) at current exchange rates.
There will be a splash version of the 25-ml. eau de toilette at $29 (45,000 lire), a 50-ml. eau de parfum spray for $43 (67,000 lire), and a 7.5-ml. parfum for $80 (125,000 lire).
The fragrance line will be accompanied by a shower gel, body cream, bath cream, body lotion and a roll-on deodorant.
Prices range from $16 (26,000 lire) for the 150-ml. shower gel and 50-ml. deodorant to $31 (49,000 lire) for the 200-ml. body lotion.
In addition to a TV commercial, scheduled to air before Christmas, and the print ad campaign, Farnsteiner indicated that the company will make liberal use of scented strips.
The press preview was held at Lake Como, according to the company, because the blue waters of the Italian lakes were said to be a major inspiration for Biagiotti in developing the concept of the fragrance, which revolves around a woman's inner life.
The print ad features a portrait of a young woman with a dreamy look on her face, sitting on the shore of a lake, her head resting on her knees. Eurocos, whose German headquarters is based in suburban Dreieich outside Frankfurt, is looking into other markets for potential growth.
According to Farnsteiner, the most promising areas seem to be the developing economies of Latin America, China and Eastern Europe.
"China offers good chances, but the problem is distribution and import restrictions," he said. "It's good to watch these markets, but you can't expect volume at this time."Farnsteiner noted, however, that opening stores in Eastern Europe is the right way to establish the brand's image. He cited the recent opening of a Clinique store in Budapest and added, "We, too, sell to Eastern Europe in selective doors."
To further boost business, Eurocos recently launched another fragrance in Germany called Ypno by local designer Otto Kern and touched up the packaging and logo of Hugo Boss, its flagship men's fragrance.
"For the moment," said Farnsteiner, "we have no plans to export Ypno because the designer isn't that well known outside of Germany."
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