By  on January 14, 2005

NEW YORK — After scoring a hit at retail in the fall with his men’s version, Kenneth Cole hopes to see a similar reaction for his newest women’s scent this spring. 

Launching Reaction for Her, a women’s counterpart to the men’s scent Cole launched in September, made sense, he said. “We were obviously pleased with the consumer’s response to Reaction for Him, and felt that the appropriate reaction was to introduce a Reaction for Her fragrance,” said Cole.

No argument there from Lancaster, the designer’s scent licensee. “Kenneth Cole’s fragrance business is our third-largest [prestige] franchise, ranked only behind Davidoff and JLo,” said Catherine Walsh, senior vice president of marketing for cosmetics and American licenses for Lancaster Group Worldwide. “And we believe it has the potential to get even bigger.”

Make that bigger not only in terms of money, but also counter space. Reaction for Her is the fourth fragrance launched by Lancaster since acquiring rights to Cole’s license from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in May 2003.  Industry sources estimated that two of these, Kenneth Cole Black and Kenneth Cole Reaction for Him, rank in the top five men’s scents at U.S. retail — and it’s clear that Lancaster hopes for a similar success in the more crowded women’s fragrance field.

Reaction for Her is a “juicy floral” formulated by Laurent Le Guernec of International Flavors and Fragrances, noted Jim Fine, marketing director for Lancaster Worldwide. The scent has top notes of pink grapefruit, mandarin and watermelon; a heart of violet leaf, yellow poppies, lily of the valley, white orchid and sweet pea, and a drydown of vetiver, musk, warm amber and cottonwood.

The collection will consist of eaux de parfum in two sizes, 1.7 oz. for $45 and 3.4 oz. for $58, as well as a 6.7-oz. shower gel for $26 and a 6.7-oz. body lotion for $29.

The bottle, a collaborative effort between Cole and Chad Levigne of Lancaster, is a heavy, clear-glass half-circle with a shocking-pink logo. The cap is of brushed chrome. Those colors are carried through to the outer carton, a silver-toned box with shocking pink accents.Like its male counterpart, the women’s Reaction is intended to appeal to a “twentysomething new professional,” said Carlos Timiraos, vice president of marketing, Lancaster Worldwide. Reaction for Her will be on counter in mid-April in the U.S., which currently means about 1,800 department and specialty stores doors. Later this year, it likely will be rolled out on a global basis, including doors in Europe, Asia and Australia.

While none of the executives would discuss sales figures or advertising spending, industry sources estimated that the scent will do about $25 million at retail in its first year on counter and that about $6 million would be spent on advertising and promotion.

Print advertising, featuring model Sara Ziff, breaks in May fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazines. Shot by David Sims — also the photographer of the men’s campaign — it features a black-and-white photo of Ziff superimposed on a pink-toned shot of a dancing crowd. Scented strips featuring both the women’s and the men’s scents also are planned for a number of the ads, which Timiraos estimates will produce about 25 million scented impressions for the women’s scent. The men’s layer will ratchet the scented impression total to about 40 million, he added.

As well, what Timiraos calls “living media” also will play a significant part in the marketing of Reaction for Her. Pointing to a men’s promotion that took the fragrance into the Virgin Megastore, Timiraos plans similar nontraditional promotions for Reaction for Her.

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