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de la Renta’s Oscar Premiere

NEW YORK -- The 16-year-old Oscar de la Renta women's fragrance will make a second debut Monday night during the Academy Awards telecast.<BR><BR>It will take a bow with its name shortened to a more colloquial Oscar and a sexy new ad campaign...

NEW YORK — The 16-year-old Oscar de la Renta women’s fragrance will make a second debut Monday night during the Academy Awards telecast.

It will take a bow with its name shortened to a more colloquial Oscar and a sexy new ad campaign calculated to attract a broader, younger audience.

The line’s outer packaging has also been redone with a simpler, cleaner design. It will appear in stores at the end of the year.

Sanofi Beaute, de la Renta’s fragrance licensee, estimates that it will spend $10 million this year on the TV and print ad campaign.

The budget is at least twice last year’s total outlay for Oscar and three times the amount spent on national print advertising, according to Adrienne Fontanella, vice president of marketing and development for the American brands at Sanofi Beaute.

“This is meant to show retailers that Sanofi supports its brands,” Fontanella said, adding that a show of support is especially necessary at a time when store counters are being inundated with fragrance launches.

“We wanted to put some energy behind the brand and bring it to the forefront,” she said.

“We’ve had a loyal customer and the brand has been very successful. It’s time to go after a new consumer and expand the brand, Fontanella continued. “The way to do that is build awareness.”

The ad campaign, created by the agency Dente & Cristina, is a sharp departure from de la Renta’s past advertising, which had an opulent look featuring deep, rich colors and an animated bottle.

The new ads are suffused with brilliant light and, for the first time, an Oscar fragrance ad prominently displays a full view of the model’s face.

In the 30-second TV spot, model Carrie Berkey is in bed, covered only by bedsheets. She smiles, giggles and with a laugh, says, “Oscar…Oscar.”

“The biggest thing is that it’s approachable,” Fontanella said of the spot. “It makes you want to smile. It’s sweet and it’s sexy. It’s fresh and feminine and romantic. It stops you and makes you want to see what is going on.”

The print ad shows a smiling Berkey partially covered by bedsheets. There also is a shot of the bottle bathed in the same bright light.

Although the TV spot looks as if it were shot indoors, it was photographed on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif. Michel Comte photographed the print ad and directed the shoot. The director of photography was Robert Leacock.

Fontanella said the fragrance has managed to stay in the top 10 of department store brands partly because of the loyalty of its user base, primarily women between 25 and 49 years old.

The company now is reaching out for new, mostly younger customers, she said, estimating the main target audience at 25 to 35 years old, with a secondary focus on women from 18 to 25.

Fontanella said the company is shooting for a 10 percent increase in Oscar sales. She did not disclose the brand’s U.S. volume, but industry sources project it at close to $40 million this year, with a worldwide total of $120 million.

While the TV commercial will make its debut Monday night, the print ad is in the March 21 edition of The New Yorker. It also will appear in the April editions of Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour, Mirabella, Vogue, Victoria and Cosmopolitan.

Most of the ads will carry scented strips. Fontanella estimated that the campaign will run through about 30 million strips this year, compared with no more than 10 million last year.

The TV campaign will get into full swing in May, with commercials being broadcast in 15 to 20 markets for Mother’s Day, followed by a bigger push in 20 to 30 markets during the Christmas selling season, Fontanella said.

The spots will be co-oped with stores.

Monday night’s broadcast will be tagged with a product-oriented gift-with-purchase offer at Bloomingdale’s.

“Oscar has remained among our top 10 brands,” said Rita Burke, senior vice president of cosmetics at Macy’s East. She noted that the brand managed to maintain its volume last year, despite competition from the new de la Renta scent, Volupte.

Michelle Williams, merchandise manager of fragrances and cosmetics accessories at Federated Merchandising, said Oscar has had “modest growth over the last few years.” She also noted that Oscar, which now does business in every Federated door, has reached a point of saturation.

“They [Sanofi] have always been promotional and supportive,” Williams said. “How many Gs can they do?

“Adding another G is not the answer,” she said. “Getting new customers is.”