Calvin Klein, whose fragrances have generally been associated with all kinds of sexual overtones, has now come up with a scent so politically correct, it is non-gender specific.
It represents a dramatic departure for both him and the fragrance industry, since the fragrance is described by company officials as the first major scent aimed at women and men alike.
Due to be introduced in October, it is called CK One.
The "CK" ties the fragrance to Klein's lower-priced lifestyle fashion and accessory merchandise, lines that carry his initials rather than his name. The "One," says the company, refers partially to the changing gender roles in today's world.
"People are striving for individuality in this decade," said Sarah Williams, head of the CK One marketing team. "But as opposed to the Eighties and the 'Me Generation,' this generation is about 'us."'
Citing results of focus group studies, Williams said the younger generation's attitude is, "Let me be who I am. But I am still part of a group."
Kim Delsing, president of Calvin Klein Cosmetics -- the Unilever subsidiary that is Klein's fragrance licensee -- was emphatic in stating that CK One is not a "unisex" scent but rather a "shared" fragrance.
"People don't want a blurring of the sexes," she said. "They don't want genders combined. The word 'unisex' takes the sex out of it, and we will not do anything with Calvin Klein's name on it that is not sexy."
Considering the fragrance's positioning, along with its pricing and utilitarian packaging, Klein executives expect to attract younger and more value-conscious consumers who might not have been able to afford the designer's fragrances in the past. They also hope to appeal to the traditional Klein fashion customer.
The CK One line initially will consist of two fragrance and two ancillary items. There will be two eau de toilettes, at $35 for 3.4 ounces and $50 for 6.7 ounces. Delsing noted that 3.4 ounces is usually the company's large size.
The CK price points are dramatically lower than Klein's other fragrances. The 3.4-oz. Escape, for instance, is $55 and Escape for Men offers the same size for $45.
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