By and  on October 2, 2009

After nearly a decade of declining sales, the more than $3 billion American fragrance industry will attempt to drive more usage among consumers this winter with a landmark multimedia campaign that the Fragrance Foundation hopes will raise awareness.

Conceived by Yard, the New York-based advertising and design firm, the campaign — dubbed “One Drop Changes Everything” — aims to play on consumers’ emotions, reminding them of the transformative power of fragrance. It will begin running in late January, with the hope that it will positively affect Valentine’s Day fragrance sales.

“Our goal isn’t to compete with our members, but to enhance their sales,” said Rochelle Bloom, president of the Fragrance Foundation. “This campaign is primarily directed at the 62 million consumers who already use fragrance occasionally, and enticing them to use it more often. In a declining retail environment, increasing sales by 2 to 5 percent would have a significant impact on the total category without infringing on anyone’s brands.”

While the idea of a “Got Milk”-type campaign has been discussed for several years — and a small effort via a consumer contest was made early in this decade — this is the first time that the Fragrance Foundation and its industry members have put aside their competitive differences and unified to produce a campaign. Bloom said the foundation will solicit support from the industry and media. The campaign could have a street value impact of between $1 million and $2 million, assuming the foundation will receive donations, according to estimates by industry sources.

The outline of a square fragrance bottle with an atomizer will be the unifying image in each ad, although background colors, text and mood varies between the three initial iterations. “We asked ourselves, what was the most iconic object that said ‘fragrance’?” said Stephen Niedzwiecki, Yard’s owner, founder and creative director, who created the campaign with his business partner and planning director, Ruth Bernstein. “We then used the icon as a vessel to express all the things fragrances can mean.”

One ad features an illustrated embracing couple within the atomizer and the headline, “One drop, and you’re in love.” A second features a photo of a stylish woman and the line, “One drop, and you’re fabulous.” The final visual, which features Woodstock-esque florals and rainbows, proclaims, “One drop changes everything.”

All direct users to onemightydrop.com, a dedicated Web site that will feature a number of interactive components, including a fragrance selector, and links to other sites. A Facebook page is being developed, with the aim of allowing customers to comment on the campaign and offer their own “One Drop” suggestions — which could make it into future versions of the campaign. Contests for charity are also planned.

Eventually, Bloom hopes to add iPhone applications, interactive store windows, billboards, bus shelters and building wraps to the program.

“By focusing on what’s in the bottle, we’re reminding people what’s in the juice,” said Bloom.



“A $1 billion opportunity” is how Karen Grant of The NPD Group described the potential of the ad campaign. In 2000, the prestige, or department store, fragrance market generated sales of 70 million units, according to Grant, who is vice president and global industry analyst at the consumer tracking firm. Unit sales of fragrance now amount to two-thirds of the 2000 total. Grant reasons that if the industry could restore the earlier unit volume at today’s average selling price of $60 a bottle, retail sales would exceed $4 billion, instead of the present $2.7 billion. Grant said NPD has determined through surveys that the pool of Americans who use fragrance at least sometime amounts to 80 million women and 50 million men. One-third of the women use it often, at least four times a week.

Grant maintains that the most efficient strategy is to aim the ad campaign at the 62 million women who use fragrance only sometimes, less than once a day, in hopes of encouraging daily usage. “If the industry can energize them, it can have a halo effect and spill over to nonusers and create a buzz.”

This could be beneficial, she added, in re-recruiting those women who have dropped out of the fragrance market, who have recently constituted a worrying trend. “Those who stopped using fragrance, stopped using it more than two years ago, so this would be a reintroduction,” Grant said. “This campaign has got to resonate with every age group,” she concluded.

The Fragrance Foundation previewed the campaign to a group of industry executives on Tuesday.

“Everyone is included with this campaign,” said Veronique Gabai-Pinsky, global president of Aramis and Designer Fragrances, BeautyBank and IdeaBank at the Estée Lauder Cos. “It’s a modern, fresh and different approach that will be implemented digitally, in print and in store. It’s intended to raise awareness of what fragrance can do for your mind-set, and that message to consumers can only help all of us.”

“It really strikes a chord and speaks in a new way to consumers,” said Cosimo Policastro, executive vice president of fine fragrances at Givaudan Fragrances Corp. “With this campaign, we’re not focusing on top notes or bottom notes. It’s about the emotional chord which fragrance can strike, and the visuals bring that to life very powerfully. This is a time where the industry has to step back and take a hard look at itself. Hopefully, this will start to build the benefits of fragrance into the vernacular.”

“I love that the industry is banding together to support this type of a campaign,” said Nicholas Munafo, president of Beauté Prestige International USA. “And it is a campaign that can take lots of different forms online, in store and in print media.”

“It’s long overdue that we recognize that we haven’t reached out as an industry to consumers in a very long time,” said Art Spiro, executive vice president of Liz Claiborne Brands for Elizabeth Arden. “This campaign is inclusive and affords the flexibility to bring a lot of different iterations to the table. It’s a very democratic approach.”

“It’s a clever way of speaking to the industry without focusing on an individual brand,” said Lionel Uzan, senior director of marketing for Clarins Fragrance Group.

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