Burberry: Marching to The Beat

Burberry hopes to up the tempo at fragrance counters worldwide starting in March, when it launches The Beat, its latest scent for women.

LONDON — Burberry hopes to up the tempo at fragrance counters worldwide starting in March, when it launches The Beat, its latest scent for women.

This story first appeared in the December 7, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The British luxury brand and its beauty license holder Inter Parfums concocted the scent with an eye to tapping the vigor of its fashion business, which has been growing apace in recent years. “The energy that exists within the company is encapsulated within this fragrance,” said Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s creative director. “It encompasses the brand as it is today. It’s of the moment.”

“It is very young and modern,” continued Philippe Benacin, chairman and managing director of Inter Parfums SA, adding that the scent marries elegance with a rock ‘n’ roll edge. “It’s very well connected to what Christopher Bailey is doing with Burberry today.”

The Beat is also meant to bolster Burberry’s fragrance portfolio by offering a more international bent, Benacin said, adding that its most recent introductions, Burberry Brit and Burberry London, are more obviously linked to the brand’s London heritage.

Industry sources estimate The Beat will generate between 120 million euros, or $176 million at current exchange, and 140 million euros, or $205 million, worldwide in its first year at retail.

With the scent, Bailey also aims to keep a finger on the pulse of today’s pretty young things, as well as women who are young at heart. “[While working on the concept,] the word we kept using was ‘energy,'” he recalled. “We wanted youthful energy. We wanted movement, for it to be active and to have the spirit of youthfulness come out in everything that we did.”

To channel that sense of youthful joie de vivre, Bailey, as reported, selected British model Agyness Deyn, who appears in The Beat’s advertising campaign. “She doesn’t take things too seriously. She’s a free spirit,” said Bailey.

That’s evident in the fragrance’s advertising, which was art directed by Fabien Baron and photographed by David Sims. The single- and double-page print campaign features multiple images of the model as she dances to rock music.

Television ads feature a track by Glaswegian band The Fratellis as well as a voice-over by Deyn introducing the fragrance.

The Beat’s juice also has a musical connection, since Bailey provided perfumers who worked on the brief with albums by Kasabian, Dirty Pretty Things, Razorlight, the Arctic Monkeys and The Fratellis to illustrate the mood he was aiming to create with The Beat.

“I always see things in terms of all the senses,” said Bailey. “Fashion is not just about clothes or color, but also about scent, sound and light. I don’t see them as separate things.”

For International Flavors & Fragrances noses Dominique Ropion, Olivier Polge and Beatrice Piquet, the musical analogy was a useful creative tool. “[Music and perfumery] are two universes where words are difficult,” said Polge.

Bailey also was keen to imbue the sparkling floral woody juice with a typically British feel, so a Ceylon tea with iris accord and a bluebell accord were created to form the scent’s “spinal column,” Ropion said. Other notes include bergamot, cardamom, pink pepper, mandarin, white musk, vetiver and cedarwood. An “intense elixir parfum,” a more concentrated blend of the scent, also will be on offer.

Baron and Bailey designed The Beat’s flacon, which features an oversize version of a Burberry check pattern, mirroring a scarf worn by Deyn in the advertising. The bottle also has a silver-colored cap, as well as a suede-and-metal charm, which is a nod to Burberry accessories.

“It feels a bit like an old English gentleman’s flask,” said Bailey, adding that The Beat’s outer carton opens like a matchbox to underscore the scent’s relaxed and modern concept. The elixir’s bottle has a mirror-effect silver finish decorated with the check pattern and comes in a transparent cube rather than a carton.

Ancillaries include a shower gel and body lotion. The eau de parfum will be available as 30-, 50- and 75-ml. sprays priced in the U.K. at 27 pounds, or $54.70; 38 pounds, or $77, and 48 pounds, or $97.30. A 40-ml. bottle of elixir will retail for 65 pounds, or $131.70. In the U.S. the sprays will be priced at $50, $62 and $80, respectively, with the elixir priced at $130. In the U.S., the 5.1-oz. body lotion will be priced at $39.50 and the 5.1-oz. shower gel will be priced at $35.

In the U.S., The Beat will roll out at Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue in March, to be followed with additional department store doors following in April.

“The Beat is a fragrance that will capture the true spirit of the moment,” said Don Loftus, president and chief executive officer of P&G Prestige Products in the U.S. “The energy of fashion and music evoked by The Beat will introduce a new group of consumers to the uniquely British history and heritage of Burberry Fragrances.”